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\Jthe right of Tranjlation is refer^ved.'] 






46, Montagu Square, 

September, 18G0. 

The subjoined remarks were prefixed to tlie last Edition 
of this work. 

" Of these Biographical Essays, three have been 
' published in the Edinburgh Review, and two in the 

* Quarterly Revieio ; but all, as they are now printed, 

* have received careful revision, and, excepting only the 
' first, large additions. Not for this should I have pre- 
^ sumed, however, to give them a form less dependent, 

* and more accessible, than that of the distinguished 
' periodicals in which they appeared originally. A more 

* numerous issue of volumes from the press is not among 
' the wants of the time. But from the first these Essays 
' were independent biographical studies, and not reviews 
' in the ordinary sense. Such information and opinions 
' as they embodied were their own ; and their design 

* was to supply, in a compact original form, what it 

* seemed desirable to possess, but impossible elsewhere 

* to obtain, upon the particular subjects treated. 

" The many additions in the present publication are 

* meant to give to that design greater scope and fullness. 
' They are most considerable in the memoirs of Steele 
' and FooTE ; and, in the latter more especially, an attempt 
' by means of them has been made to render more com- 

* plete the picture of a series of comic writings, which 

* are not more remarkable for character and wit than for 


' their vivid and humorous presentment of English vices 
^ and foibles in the later half of the eighteenth century, 
^ but which accidental causes may probably for ever shut 
' out from the place they might have claimed to occupy 
' in the literature of England. '' 

To this I have simply now to add that the book has 
undergone further revision; and that I have embodied 
h). the memoir of De Foe some facts derived from family 
papers obtained by me since the last edition appeared, 
and one letter, hitherto unprinted, written by De Foe 
himself. I am also able to subjoin, in this place, availing 
myself of the permission kindly afforded by their possessor, 
the two additional letters, also original, to which I have 
referred in that memoir, and which, brief as they are, 
form no unwelcome contribution to the very few existing 
specimens of the great writer's correspondence. The 
remarks at p. 112 will sufficiently explain the allusions 
in them. Both his correspondent and the Mr. Kogers 
of whom mention is made, appear to be connected 
with the business of publishing ; and the special matters 
in which he desires their agency are his Thoughts on 
the late Victory, published as his Hymn to Victory, and 
his Jure Bivino. He had only been a few weeks out of 
prison when the notes were written, yet already he had 
been reported (in connection with an article in his Review 
for which Admiral Rooke had threatened to prosecute 
him) as flying from his recognizances ; and it is to the 
latter incident, not to the London Grazette advertisement, 
he refers in the second note. 

" S'", — I had yo'' obligeing Letter, for w^^, tho' its now 
" very Late, I presume to give you my Sincere Thanks. 
" 1 had Given Mr. Rogers over, and laiew not how 


^' matters were w*'^ him ; supposing lie was marry 'd and 
" had forgot his friends, or something else was befallen 

" This made me give you y^ Trouble of a Pcell yester- 
" day, by the Carryer, in w'^'^ are 50 books, w'^'' you will 
" find are a few Thoughts on y^ late Yictory : if you 
" please to Let him have them, or any Friends that 
'' Desire y™. If they are too many, he may retume 
" what he mislikes. 

" I can not Enlarge, but you'l see, by y^ Enclos'd, 
" what wonderfull Things God is Doeing in y^ World; of 
" w^^ I could not forbear putting you to y^ Charge, that 
" you might let our friends have y^ first of it. 'Tis 
" midnight. I hope you will Excuse y^ hast. 

" I am, S"-, 
" Yo"" sincere Friend [and] Serv^ 

" De Foe. 

'' Ultim" Aug^ 1704, 

" Addressed 

*' To Mr. Sam'^^^ Elisha, 


'' Shrewsbury." 

" S'', — I have yo^ kind Letter, and had answerd it 
" sooner but I have been out of Town for above 3 weeks. 

" What Treatm'^ I have had since I have been abroad, 
" you will see in y^ Revieio where I have been oblig'd to 
" vindicate my self by an advertisement ; and had not y« 
'^ maHce of people reported me fled from justice, w^*^ made 
" me think it necessary to come up and sho' my self, I 
" dont kno' but I might have given you a short visit. 

" I am Grlad to hear you had ye Hymns, and thank 
" your acceptance of the single one ; but I must owne 
'' myself sorry Mr. Rogers is leaving you. 

" I Thank you for yo^' kind proposall ; but tho* I have 
" a Family Large Enough, would not have my useless 
" acquaintance Burthensome to my Friends ; Especially 
'* you, of whom I have been capable to meritt very 
" Little. 

" I rejoyce that I shall see you in Town and wish you 


*' a good journey up. I beg y^ favour of you to remind 
'' Mr. Rogers of Jure DivinOf w^^^ now Draws near 
" putting forward. 

" I am, S^ 
" Yo»- Oblig'd Humble Serv*. 


*' Octo¥ 11, 1704." 


P. 112. The difference of date in the two letters is "a month," not 
"a year." 

P. 272. ''Fitzgerald," printed in the running title at top of the page, 
should be " Fitzpatrick." 


I. OLIVER CROMWELL. 1599—1658. 
(From the Edinhurgh Review, Jan. 1856. With Omissions.) 1 — 55. 


Notices of Cromwell since the days of Hume .... 1 

Cromwell as presented by modern writers — First view of his cha- 
racter — Defeat and disappointment 2 

Second view — Same results from other causes — Traitor to Liberty 

not Royalty . 3 

Third view — Complete type of the Puritan Rebellion . . . 4 

Cromwell according to Mr. Carlyle — His temporal and spiritual 

victories — M. Guizot's version ..... 5 

Cromwell's character coloured by Guizot's political experiences 
— A great and successful but unscrupulous man — Exciter 
and chastiser of Revolution — Destroyer and architect of 
Government ......... 6 

-"^Causes of his failure — Foundations of his greatness set upon 

Disorder ......... 7 

How a book may be spoiled by translation — Example . . . 8 
Style extinguished — Delicacies of utterance destroyed . . 9 
Temptation of high-sounding sentences — Meanings and sense 

translated 10 

Intention missed — Subtleties dropped 11 

Felicities and infelicities of idiom . . . , . . 12 
Parallel passages from Text and Translation — Warning to foreign 

writers .......... 13 

Character of M. Guizot's History — Reflection of his own cha- 
racter — Influences from recent events . . . . . 14 

Early life of M. Guizot — First literary labours — Professor of 

Modern History at the age of 24 . . . . . 15 

His opinions — Writings on Representative Government and 

the English Revolution— The Three Days . . . . 16 


Oliver Cromwell. page 

Guizot's career as Minister — Fall of Frencli monarchy — Dis- 
likes and calumnies of French republicans . . .17 

The Old Republicans of England — Their character and motives 18 

Under what conditions a Republic honours and serves humanity 

— M. Guizot not unjust to English republicanism . . 19 

A visit to Mr. John Milton's lodging — Cromwell's personal re- 
lations with Milton 20 

The Republican Council of State — Eminent members — Causes 

conspiring to its fall 21 

Cromwell's seizure of power — Secret of the governing art— In- 
stinct of the drift of the People . . . . . . 22 

Cardinal de Retz and Cromwell — Vane's secret mission to France 23 

Ambition with a plan and without — Fixity of men's designs 

and Uncertainty of their destiny — The interval between . 24 

Cromwell's early life — Quiet performance of his duties — Doing 
thoroughly what he has to do — Picture of him in D' Ewes' s 
MS 25 

His Experience in the Field — Organisation of his Ironsides — 

Duty of directing and governing men .... 26 

Rising to all occasions — Assuming still his natural place — Glory 

of the country reflected in his 27 

Readiness for the hour and no restlessness beyond — The time 

when one mounts highest . . . . . .28 

M. Guizot's imperfect recognition of Religious Element in 
English Revolution — His view of purely worldly character 
of Protectorate 29 

Oliver Protector — The basis of his government — His plan for a 

Succession . . , 30 

The Protector's real model — The old Hebrew Judges — His piety 

not statecraft 31 

One mind in all his letters — At St. Ives and in Whitehall his 

tone the same ........ 32 

Proofs of a profound sincerity— Equally removed from hypocrisy 

and fanaticism ......... 33 

Toleration of differences in religion — His project of a Synod to 
bring sects into agreement— Preachei'S of Covenant over- 
thrown as he had overthrown its Army — Sublime warning 
to the Presbytery . . . . . . . .34 

A scene in Ely Cathedral — Intercession with a Royalist for 

liberty of conscience . . * 35 

Inseparability of Temporal and Spiritual things — Thoughts of a 

Hero — The same in triumph and in peril . . . .36 

After Worcester and before Dunbar— The Pillar of Fire — Ac- 
counts by Officers of his Household . . . . . 37 

A Velasquez portrait in words —General estimate by M. Guizot 

— Contention with the Parliament 38 

Victor in the duel — Cromwell's foreign policy — Light thrown 

upon it by M. Guizot 39 


Oliver Cromicell. page 

Rivalries of De Retz and Mazarin for Cromweirs favour — His 

attitude 40 

JMazarin no match for Cromwell — Cardinal and Coadjutor out- 
witted 41 

Cromwell's alliances — France and Spain^Why France was pre- 
ferred 42 

Mazarin no match for Oliver — Characteristic presents — Tapestry, 

wine, and Barbary horses — Pure Cornish tin . . . 43 

Ideas of foreign policy — "Whitelock's Embassy to Sweden — The 

project for a Council of all Protestant Communions . . 44 

Execution of the Portuguese Ambassador's brother — Prince of 

Conde's overtures to Cromwell 45 

Seizure of Jamaica — Great Treaty with France —Admiration of 

young Louis XIV 46 

Homage of Foreign Sovereigns — Old Princes and Kings humbled 

before Cromwell 47 

Failure of Parliaments of Protectorate — Cromwell's Major- 

Generals .48 

Comedy of Kingship— Its unwelcome fifth act — Why Protec- 
torate must close 49 

Patronage of literature and learned men — Cromwell's gratitude 

for Waller's panegyric . . . . . . .50 

His enjoyment of cheerful recreation — His pipe and game at 

crambo — Protectorate Court Circular 51 

Alleged domestic infidelities a Royalist slander— Correspondence 
with his wife — Cromwell's five sons — Information respecting 
them 52 

The school at Felsted — Death-bed of Cromwell — Affecting refer- 
ence to his eldest son . . . . . . . 53 

The Register of Burials in Felsted ])arish church — One memora- 
ble Entry there 54 

* * Vir honorandus " — What might have been if Robert Crom- 
well had lived 55 

II. DANIEL DE FOE. 1661—1731. 

(From the Edinburgh Review, Oct. 1845. With Additions.) 57 — 158. 

Charles II. 1661—1685. 

An example of Things that Ought to have Succeeded — A solitary 

Life and a solitary Fame 57 

Mr. Pepys and his wife in Whitehall Gardens — Sheldon and Cla- 
rendon presiding over Chui'ch and State . . . . 58 

Indulgence to Dissenters in Year of Dutch War — Mr. James Foe 

of Cripplegate ........ 59 

School-days of Daniel Foe— A boxing English boy . . . 60 


Daniel De Foe. page 

Educated in English as well as in dead and in foreign Languages 

—The old 131ind Schoolmaster of Bunhill-fields . . 61 

The Popish Plot — Two Memorable Words first heard — Whigs 

and Tories — Titus Gates 62 

Young Daniel's opinions of the Plot — A Protestant Flail . . 63 

The Monument carried off by six Frenchmen — Lying like Truth 
— A Grenius for homely Fiction — Daniel Foe, freeman, 
liveryman, and hose-factor ....... 64 

The Close of Charles IPs reign — Seven eventful years — Visit of 

William of Orange ....... 65 

Russell's execution — Charles the Second toying with his Concu- 
bines — Death ....... . . QQ 

James IL 1685—1689. 

Greetings from Churchmen and Lawyers — Passive Obedience and 

Infallibility of Kings QQ 

Landing of Monmouth — Daniel Foe "Out" with the Rebels — 

Escapes over Sea, and returns, Daniel De Foe . . . 67 

James IPs Claim to a Dispensing Power — Character of the King 

— His overmastering Passion . . . . . .68 

De Foe's denunciation of Court time-servers — Dissenters disclaim 

him 69 

Art of thinking and standing Alone — The landing at Torbay — 
Flight of James — Debates of the Convention — De Foe at 
Guildhall 70 

William IIL 1689—1702. 

A Prince who could stand Alone — De Foe's Celebrations of 

William — Hero-worship 71 

Marriage — Reverses in Trade — Flight from London . . .72 

Writing against the Iniquities of Whitefriars and the Mint — 

In Bristol — The Sunday Gentleman 73 

Essay on Projects — A Tradition of the Landlord of the Red 

Lion . 74 

Reforms suggested in Banking, Public Roads, Insurance, Friendly 

Societies and Savings Banks, and Treatment of Lunatics . 75 

Scenes in London — Treachery on all Sides — Proposed Academy 

of Letters 76 

De Foe's other suggested Reforms — Military College — Abolition 
of Imprisonment — College for Education of Women — Ar- 
rangement with Creditors — Subsequent Payments in full . 77 

Refuses to leave England — Public Employment — Made Account- 
ant to Commissioners of Glass Duty — His Works at Til- 
bury 78 

His Sailing-boat on the Thames — The most Unpopular Man in 

England — The Man who saved England . . . . 79 


Daniel Be Foe. page 

De Foe's Appeal against "William Ill's Assailants — The noblest 

of Services, Low Rewarded 80 

Character of the Great King — Constitutional Government not an 

easy Problem to Solve 81 

His Whig and his Tory Assailants — A Difference — De Foe's early 

Political Writings 82 

Interview between William and De Foe —Personal aspects of the 

Men 83 

Generous Enmity — De Foe and Dryden — Swift's lesson in eating 

Asparagus 84 

Principles of Revolution taking root — Discussion of Moral Ques- 
tions — De Foe's Essay on the Poor . . . . . 85 

Justice's Justice — Occasional Conformity — Offence to Dissenters 86 
Condition of the Stage — Charles II's Court too refined for such 

Plays as Hamlet— Collier and Burnet — De Foe's attack . 87 

Fugitive Verses — Mi-. Tutchin's Poem of the Foreigners— The 

True Born Englishman . . . . . . .88 

William's need of Service — Service rendered by De Foe — An 

Appeal to the Common People . . . . . . 89 

Popularity of the True Born Englishman — De Foe sent for to 

the Palace — A great Question mooted . . . .90 

De Foe's famous Letter upon Government — Popular Element in 
the English Constitution — Original Right and Delegated 
Power 91 

Robert Harley's first beginnings — A Creature of the Revolution 

— House of Commons tact ... ... 92 

Kentish Petition and Legion Memorial — Impeachment of Whig 
Lords — Jonathan Swift's Pamphlet — De Foe's Scheme for 
Trade presented to William . . . . . . 93 

Death of the King— Mock Mourners — De Foe's real grief . . 94 

Anne. 1702—1714. 

Character of the Queen — Godolphin and Marlborough promoted 95 

High Church prospects — A Tantivy Halloo — Bill against Occa- 
sional Conformity — Whig and Tory Cats . ... 96 

Cowardice of Dissenters — Position of De Foe—Sacheverell's 

Bloody Flag — The Shortest Way with Dissenters published 97 

Masterpiece of Serious Irony — Its Effect — Clamour for the Au- 
thor's name — Folly of Dissenters . . . . .98 

Reward offered for Apprehension of De Foe — Proclamation in 

the London Gazette .... ... 99 

Surrenders himself — His Trial at Old Bailey — Attorney- General 

Harcourt's Speech 100 

Verdict of Guilty— Sentenced to Newgate and the Pillory — What 

the Pillory then was 101 

A Hymn to the Hieroglyphic State Machine— De Foe's sentence 

Carried out, in CornhiU, in Cheapsidj, and at Temple Bar 102 


Daniel De Foe. page 

How the Populace behaved — Punishment turned into Ovation— 

Pope's ungenerous allusion 103 

De Foe in Newgate — Gaol experiences — Restlessness of Martyr- 
dom 104 

Portrait of De Foe — Prison Writings — His Account of the Great 

Storm . • 105 

His opinions as to Literary Copyright — Establishment of his 

Review .......... 106 

Days of Publication — Uninterrupted continuance for Nine Years 

— Written solely by De Foe 107 

Piracies of the Review — Originality of its plan — Subjects dis- 
cussed in it . . . . . . . . . 108 

The Scandalous Club — Wives and Husbands — Essays on Trade — 

First sprightly runnings of Tatlers and Spectators . .109 

De Foe for the Citizen Classes, Steele and Addison for the Wits 

— Changes in the Government 110 

Robert Harley in Office — Ascertaining how far the People will 
bear — Trimming between parties — Faith in Parliament and 
the Press — Message to De Foe . . . . .111 

Her Majesty interests herself for Mr. De Foe — Release from 

Newgate — Victory of Blenheim — De Foe's Hymn . . 112 

His Letters to Halifax — De Foe sent for — Use of Queen's name . 113 

Taken to Court to kiss hands — Jonathan and Harley — Secret 

Service — Preparations for Travel . . . . .114 

Return to England — A General Election — De Foe among the 

Electors 115 

Popularity of his Writings — Fury of his Assailants — De Foe and 

the Devil at leap frog 116 

John Dunton's Tribute — Elections favourable to Whigs — Excite- 
ment of the High Flyers — Inveteracy against De Foe . . 117 

Lord Haversham's attack — De Foe's reply — Works on Trade, 

Tolei-ation, and the Colonies — His Giving Alms no Charity . 118 

His Scheme for better and more humane Regulation of Mad- 
houses—His Jure Divino . . ... 119 

Opinions as to Apparitions — On Spiritual Influences and Commu- 
nications with Visible World 120 

His True History of Mrs. Veal — A Ghost called from the Grave 

to make a Dull Book sell 121 

A gossip upon Death by the Spirit of an Exciseman's housekeeper 

—Tittle Tattle from the Other World . . • . . 122 

Scottish Union — De Foe's interview with the Queen — Appointed 

Secretai-y to English Commissioners .... 123 

De Foe in Scotland — His Eulogy on the Scotch — Histoiy of the 

Union — Its effects . . 124 

Bedchamber Intrigues — Backstairs visits — Abigail Masham sus- 
; pended and Robert Harley dismissed . . . .125 


Daniel Be Foe. page 

Triumph of Duchess of Marlborough — Whig Administration made 
more Whiggish— Wits at Will's Coffee-house — The Joke 
against Partridge 126 

Swift's attack on De Foe — De Foe's exertions for Men of Letters 

— Services to the Ministry 127 

Interview with Lord Treasurer Godolphin — Gratitude to Harley 

— Again the High Church Trumpet . . . . . 128 

De Foe again attacks both Extremes — His hint to such Impar- 
tial Writers — Petty Persecutions of him . . . .129 

Instances from Luttrell's Diary — Reappearance of Sacheverell — 

His Impeachment resolved upon . . . . . . 130 

Exultation of Harley — Trial of Sacheverell — Overthrow of the 

Ministry 131 

Exit Godolphin and enter Harley — Last Administration of Queen 

Anne — Swift and the new Lord Treasurer . . . . 132 

De Foe sent for — Grounds of his Conditional support stated — 

Principles of the Revolution ...... 133 

Hai'ley's Whig tendencies — Principles and Persons — The Ex- 
aminer and the Review 134 

Reply to Swift — Protest against Personalities in Literature — 

Courage to Fight a rascal but not to Call him one . .135 

De Foe's Appeal against his Assailants — Charge of writing for 

Place 136 

Debtor and Creditor account with Harley's Administration — A 

wise old Fox and a tamed Badger 137 

De Foe's arguments for Free Trade — Opposes the Whig attempt 
to prohibit Trade with France — Questions on which he 
opposed the Harley Administration 138 

Popish doctrines in English Church — Pamphlets against the 

Pretender 139 

De Foe again thrown into Newgate — Released by Bolingbroke — 

Close of the Review 140 

George I and George II. 1714 — 1731. 

Fall of Oxford and Bolingbroke — The Whigs fixed in power — • 
De Foe confuted by the ingenious Mr. Addison — Whig 
rewards — The reward of De Foe 141 

Example of his Life — Type of the great Middle-Class English 
Character — A question for posterity — The world Without 
and Within 142 

De Foe's last Political Essay — De Foe's Moral and Religious 
Writings — Family Instructor, Religious Courtship, and 
History of the Devil 143 

Complete Tradesman and Strictures on London Life — Advocates 
a Metropolitan University, Foundling Hospital, and better 
System of Police — Attacks Beggars' Opera . . .144 

Niched into the Duaciad — Pope's after regrets — Begins to write 

Fiction in 58th year of his age 145 


Daniel De Foe. page 

Kobinson Crusoe — Type of his own Solitudes and Strange Sur- 
prising Adventures . . , . . . .146 

History of the Plague — Moll Flanders, Colonel Jack, and 

Roxana 147 

Father of an Illustrious Family — What English Novelists owe to 

De Foe 148 

His Residence at Newington — His Daughters — Mr. Henry Baker 149 

A Family Picture — Visit of Enthusiasts from New World . . 150 

Proposal for Youngest Daughter — Trouble of De Foe — Dowry 

he will give her 151 

Disputes over Marriage Settlements — A too prudent lover — Pro- 
perty of De Foe 152 

The Marriage — De Foe's Letter on parting with his Daughter . 153 

His Son-in-law — His acts of Charity — Sudden Reverse . .154 

Affecting Letter to his Printer — Labours, anxieties, and ill-re- 
quited toil . 155 

Unnatural conduct of his Son — Fate of the last Lineal Descend- 
ant of a (xreat English Writer — A Subscription and its 
result .......... 156 

De Foe's last Letter — Final Message to his Children— Te Deum 

Laudamus 157 

Death of Daniel De Foe 158 

in. SIR RICHARD STEELE. 1675—1729. 

(From the Quarterly Review, 1855. With Additions.) 159 — 253 

Fielding's laugh at Tickell's Depreciation of Steele for Addison — 

Ghosts of the friends 159 

The two leading Essayists of England — What Addison foretold — 

Looking at the same figure when Pleased, and when Angry . 160 

Macaulay's character of Steele — Addison's alleged Scorn — Dis- 
puted—Ordinary source of Disagreement between the 
friends .......... 161 

Swift's testimony to equality of relations between Steele and 

Addison 162 

Steele's own account of their Estrangements — Plunging into the 
torrent, and Waiting on the brink — Differences of tempera- 
ment — How Mr. All worthy made enemies . . .163 

Addison misrepresented — Poor Dick — Evil effects of Compassion 164 

Best way to Cry a man down — Condescensions of praise — 

Captain Plume and Captain Steele 165 

Virtues disguised Vices — Vices disguised Virtues — Opinions of 

Steele by Pope, Young, and Lady Mary Montagu . .166 


Sir Richard Steele. page 

Each to be judged by himself — No diminution to Steele not to be 

Addison, nor to Addison not to be Steele . . . . 167 

The Levelling circumstance in all characters — Danger of putting 

it forward — Privacies denied to Public men . . . 168 

Depreciation of Steele's genius — Alleged inability to see Conse- 
quences of his own Project — Appointment of Gazetteer . 169 

Macaulay's account of Tatler before Addison joined it — No real 

worth until then . . . . . . . . .170 

The Facts stated — Conclusive evidence from the papers them- 
selves .......... 171 

The First Eighty Tatlers — Their freshness and originality . . 172 
Criticism of Shakespeare — Experiences for Life as well as Rules 
for Taste — Advice to Tragic Poets — Moral Lessons from 
Books and Plays 173 

Steele first raises again the Poet of Paradise — Gallantry and 

Refinement 174 

Deficiencies in Female Education — True and false Accomplish- 
ments — Eulogy on Lady Elizabeth Hastings . . . . 175 

Modes of Dying— A hint for Addison — Characters in Steele's 
Tatlers — Wags of Wealth — The Chaplain-Postilion — Uses 
of a Snuff-box — The Pious Freethinker . . . .176 

A Shadow of good Intentions — Mrs. Jenny Distaff — Will Dactyle 

— Senecio — Will Courtly — Sophronius — Jack Dimple . . 177 

Sprightly father of the English Essay— At First as to the Last 
— Enlivening Morality with Wit, and tempering Wit with 
Morality 178 

Getting Wisdom out of Trifles — Bringing Philosophy out of closets 

and libraries into clubs and coffee-houses . . . . 179 

Steele's distinction from other wits and humourists — A some- 
thing Independent of Authorship — The Man delightful . 180 

On Vulgarity — Not the condition in life, but the sentiments in 
that condition — Insolence of the Wealthy in determining a 
man's Character by his Circumstances . . . .181 

The only true distinctions — Rules of breeding — Entertaining as 

if a Guest, and Doing good offices as if Receiving them . . 182 

Value of Reality beyond Appearance — Taking care Ourselves of 
our wisdom and virtue — Mistakes of the vain and proud — 
Folly of asking What the World will Say . . . .183 

Same laws for Little and Great — A lesson from the Stage — 

Pope and Betterton — The actors of our youth . . . 184 

Mr. Bickerstaff's visit to Oxford — Macaulay's view of Steele's 

writings — " A pleasant small Drink " kept too long . 185 

Vicissitudes to which Old Reputations are subject — Estimated 

value of a single Spectator in Sam Johnson's time . . 186 

Steele's Fame not to be surrendered even to Macaulay's — Reputa- 
tions made classical by Time — Their assailants most in 
peril — Steele's affection for Addison . . . . . 187 


Sir Richard Steele. page 

Self-depi*eciation — The respect due to a noble Modesty — Question 

put iu issue by Macaulay 188 

A Judgment challenged— Statue flung down, but Features unde- 
faced— Steele's pathos and refinement of feeling — First pure 
prose story-teller in the language — Circulating Libraries 
established 189 

A domestic interior painted by Steele— Mr. B's courtship and 

marriage ......... 190 

Mr. B's children — Isaac Bickerstaft's Godson — Married life and 

Bachelor life 191 

Fleeting tenure of This world's happiness — A Death-bed Scene 

— Affecting Picture . . . . . . .192 

Little Novels by Steele — Stories in the Tatler — On Untimely 

Deaths 193 

Character of Addison as Ignotus — Definition of a fine gentleman 
• — Toleration of one another's faults — Arts of This life 
made advances to the Next . . . . . .194 

Old Dick Reptile— Members of the Trumpet Club . . . 195 

Easy Friends — A great necessity to Men of Small Fortunes — 
Pride in its humbler varieties — An unfading Portrait — An 
Insignificant Fellow, but exceeding Grracious . . .196 

The Professed Wag — Everything seen in its lowest aspect — 

False applause and false detraction . . . . . 197 

On Impudence — On over-easiness in Temper — The crafty old 

Cit — Tom Spindle — The Shire-lane pastrycook . . .198 

Absurdities in Education for the Middle Class — The Country 

Squire setting up for Man of the Town . . . . . 199 

The Censorious Lady of Quality — Married Prudes — Jenny Distaff 
and her Brother — The Sisters and the pair of Striped Garters 
— The Cobbler of Ludgate Hill — A hint for Statesmen out of 
business — Ponderous politician but small philosopher , 200 

Maltreatment of Authors — The voyage hazardous, the gains 

doubtful — Should Privateers have licence to plunder ? . . 201 

Character of the Private Soldier — Great Courage and Small 
Hopes — Anticipation of the Letters of heroes of Alma and 
Inkermann 202 

Steele's kind heart and just philosophy — Actual Experiences — 
Human habits always changing — Unchanging habits of 
lesser creatures ........ 203 

A Picture of Morning — Touching retrospect .... 204 

Earliest Recollection and Earliest Grief 205 

Birth and School days of Richard Steele — At the Charter House 

— His most important Acquisition there .... 205 

Friendship with Joseph Addison — Visits to Addison's father, 

the Dean of Lichfield — At Merton, in Oxford . . . . 206 


Sir Richard Steele. pass 

A Comedy burnt — Tatler's philosophy in the rough — Enlists in 

the Guards — Becomes Captain Steele . . . .207 

Writes the Christian Hero — Growing conscious of his powers 208 

Objects of his book — Inadequacy of Heathen Morality — Putting 
life Oflf till to-morrow — Not living Now — Characters of 
Heathen Antiquity — A contrast from the Bible . . . 209 

The Sermon on the Mount — Inattention to its teaching — Fore- 
shadowing of the Tatler — Not Author but Companion . 210 

Dedication to Lord Cutts — Exit Soldier, Enter Wit— With Con- 

greve at the St. James's Coffee-house . . . . 211 

His first Comedy — Success of the Funeral — The ungrateful 
undertaker's 'man — The more he gets, the gladder he 
looks — Addison's return from Italy — The Kit-Katt Club . 212 

Noctes Coenseque Deorum — Addison's Conversation — Steele's 
happy Criticism of plays and actors — Comparisons of Cibber 
and Wilkes, of Bullock and Penkethman . . . . 213 

The Tender Husband played — Addison contributes to it — Writes 

the Prologue and receives the Dedication . . . .214 

Whig Prospects brightening — Literattire taking a stronger tone 

— Men of Letters sought out by Ministers , . . . 215 

A Scene in St. James's Coffee-house— A Clergyman of remark- 
able appearance — Encounter with a booted Squire - .216 

Introduction of Steele and Addison to Swift — Charles Fox's 
theory about him — Addison's eulogy upon him — His won- 
derful Social Charm . . . . . . ..217 

The Triumvirate — Addison's Rosamund, and its failure — Steele's 
Lying Lover, its Catastrophe and the cause thereof — Harley 
makes Steele Gazetteer — Addison Under-Secretary . .218 

Harley quits ofl&ce — Early death of Steele's first wife — Marries 
again — Correspondence with second wife — 400 Private letters 
made Public 219 

Domestic Revelations — Courting days — The lady's jealousy of 

Addison 220 

Settlements at the Marriage — Income over-estimated — Town and 
country houses — Addison's loan of a thousand pounds — 
Repaid and renewed — Establishment at Hampton Court . 221 

Large expenses and Small needs — Jacob TouEon discounting a 

bill — Days and Nights with Addison 222 

Letters to Prue — Domestic attentions and troubles — Character 

of Mrs. Richard Steele— A first year of Wedded Life . . 223 

Penalty of not conforming to common habits — A husband's 
excuses — Hours and Minutes of absence accounted for — 
As many letters as posts in the day 224 

Unabashed Sir Bashful — Caprices of Prue — Unfounded com- 
plaints — Drawbacks from Beauty ... . 225 

Differences pushed into quarrels — A peevish beauty rebuked — 
What a woman's Glory should be — Domestic explosion — 
Mrs. Steele's contrition . . . . . . ^ 226 


xvifi CONTENTS. 

Sir Richard Steele. page 

The wits at Halifax's — Drinking to Prue and her school-fellow — 
Intimacies with Swift — The joke against Partridge — Mr. 
Isaac Bickerstaflf 227 

The joke kept up — Confusion and troubles of Mr. Partridge — 

Steele's distress — An Execution for rent .... 228 

Addison appointed Irish Secretary — Steele a candidate for office 

— Farewell supper — Godfather Addison . . . . 229 

First Number of the Tatler — Swift probably in the secret — 

Addison not consulted — Mode of publication — Postage . 230 

Extraordinary popularity — Accounted for by Gay — Not Sub- 
serving the vices, but Correcting them — Diffusing the 
Graces of Literature — Bitter drop in the cup . . . 231 

Weakness of Ministry — Eeturn of Addison — Whig anxieties to 

secure Swift 232 

The Sacheverell trial — Whigs falling — Steele made Commissioner 
of Stamps — Warnings disregarded — Swift in London — 
Harley and St. John in Office — The Gazette taken from 
Steele 233 

Swift leaves the Whigs — Keeps up intercourse with Whig friends 
— Officiates at Christening at St. James's Coffee-house — 
Requested by Harley not to write for Steele , . . 234 

Last Number of the Tatler — Steele's interview with Harley — 

First Number of the Spectator 235 

Swift's opinion of Spectator — Steele's Sketches for the Coverley 

Papers 236 

Equal participation with Addison — The Editorship — Traditions 

of the Printing Office 237 

Steele's leading papers particularised — Suggestion of the Jealous 

Wife— Dick Eastcourt 238 

Wonderful Success — Sale of the Numbers — Effect of Boling- 
broke's Stamp — Last Number of Spectator— First Number 
of Guardian — Mr. Pope contributes 239 

Steele's quarrel with Swift — Handsome retort — Steele's dispute 

about Things — Swift's about Persons .... 240 

Steele surrenders Commissionership of Stamps and enters House 

of Commons — Publication of the Crisis . . . . 241 

Steele's Defence at Bar of the House — Expelled from the House 
— Death of the Queen— Fall of Oxford and Bolingbroke 
— Whig appointments 242 

Steele's office in the Theatre Royal — Gratitude of the Players — 

Politicians less grateful — Member for Boroughbridge . . 243 

Oratory in the House of Commons — Steele characterises it — 
Views of public questions — Opposition to High Church 
party . . . 244 

Conduct in the House — On Schism Bill — Toleration to Catholics 
— Mercy to Jacobites — South Sea Scheme — Walpole's propo- 
sition on the Debt — Sunderland's Peerage Bill — Deprived of 
his Drury Lane appointment . . . . . . 245 


Sir Richard Steele. 

Complaint to his wife — Interceding for South Sea Directors — 

Dull Mr. William Whiston 246 

Treatment of Steele by the Whigs — Service in times of Danger 

forgotten — Apologue of Husbandman and Bridge . . . 247 

Everyone^s Friend but his own — Social Impressions against 

Moral Resolutions — No Example of Improvidence for others 248 

Bishop Hoadly — At a Whig Festivity with Steele — Visiting at 
Blenheim — Amateur play — Stories of Steele told to John- 
son — A Pamphlet written for a Dinner . . . . 249 

Bailiffs in Livery — Addison's Enforcement of Steele's Bond — 
Probable explanation — Improbable suggestions — Entertain- 
ment in York Buildings 250 

Addison Secretary of State — Steele dining with him — Appointed 
Commissioner of Scotch Forfeited Estates — His later mar- 
ried life — Boys and Girls — Alternate Sunshine and Storm 
with Prue — Mistress Moll and Madam Betty, Eugene and 
Dick 251 

Last letters to Prue— Her death — His Later public life — Comedy 

of the Conscious Lovers — Difference with Addison . . 252 

A Summer's Evening Scene in Wales — Steele in his Invalid 

Chair— Death 253 


(From the Edinburgh Review, January 1845. With Additions.) 265 — 328. 

An Editor's bad example — Tendency of remarks on Individuals 

— Too much either of blame or praise 255 

Editorial Deficiencies — Dead hand at a Life, and not Lively at a 
Note — Dr. Brown and Jeremy Bentham — Dr. Francklin's 
Sophocles 256 

Ambition of a young Solicitor to Edit a Satirist — A worthy Task 

ill-done — Unfortunate Criticism . . . . .257 

Editorial blunders — Garth and his friend Codrington — The two 
Doctors William King — The two Bishops Parker — Grave 
correction of a Joke by Addison — Tom Davies and T. Davis 
— Premature putting to death of Churchill's brother John . 258 

Self-Contradictions — Curacy in Wales — Failure in trade — Re- 
pulse at Oxford — Admiration for Croly . . . . 259 

Contempt for Wordsworths and Coleridges — Attacks upon Noble 

Authors — Elegant extracts 260 

Charles Churchill bom —Two races of men — Dryden's Cromwell 
and Shaftesbury, Churchill's Wilkes and Sandwich — 
Churchill's Father — Designs him for the Church . . . 261 

b 2 


Charles Churchill. page 

Places him at Westminster — The Masters there— School-days and 
School -fellows — Stands by Cowper now, and Cowper after- 
wards by him — Colman, Cumberland, and Warren Hast- 
ings . . • 262 

Small poets at Westminster — Taggers of verse increasing and 

multiplying — A Poetical Murrain — A Profession ill-chosen 263 

Honours at School — Imprudent Marriage — Rejection at Oxford 

— Domestic disagreements 264 

Entered at Trinity in Cambridge — Qualifying for Orders — Visit 

to London — Ordained 265 

Curate of Rainham — Forty Pounds a-year — Opens a school — 
Death of his father — Elected Curate of St. John's in West- 
minster — Teaching in a Lady's Boarding School . . . 266 

In the Pulpit — Ill-success — His own admissions— His heart 

never with his profession 267 

His Character consistent with Itself — Alleged contradictions dis- 
puted — Churchill's claim to fairer judgments . . . 268 

Wish to leave the Church — Early temptations revived — Old 
School-fellows established as Town wits — Result of ill-con- 
considered Marriage — Ruin impending — A Friendly Hand 
stretched forth 269 

Determines to embark in Literature — The Bard and The Con- 
clave rejected by booksellers — Both destroyed — The Rosciad 
completed — Booksellers will not have it — Publishes it him- 
self—A great Hit 270 

The Town startled — Example of Churchill's power — A Character 

without a Name 271 

Full length of a Fribble — Fitzpatrick — Lawyer Wedderburne . 272 

Pictures of Players — Yates, Sparks, Smith, Ross, and Mossop 273 

Barry, and Quin 274 

Havard and Davies — David Garrick— The Chair assigned to him 275 

Satire a looking-glass for reflection of all faces but our own — 
Players running about like Stricken Deer — Grieving for 
their friends, not for themselves — The universal question 
Who is he? — Answered by the Critical Reviewers . . 276 

Churchill criticises his Critics — His Apology — Depreciation of 
the Stage — Smollett fiercely attacked— Garrick rudely 
warned . . 277 

Description of the Strollers — Imitated by Crabbe . . .278 

Garrick's fright— Smollett's disclaimer of Attack on Churchill — 
Garrick's request for Lloyd's intercession — Manager and 
Poet reconciled 279 

Warburton's allusion to the Rosciad— Garrick's brethren of the 
Stage — Attacks on the Satirist — Anti-Rosciads, Trium- 
virates, Examiners, and Churchilliads — Scene in Bedford 
Coffee-house 280 

Foote's Lampoon — Murphy's Ode— Churchill's seat in the Drury 


Charles Churchill. page 

Lane pit— Watched from the Stage by the actors— Fright 
ofTomDavies 281 

Pope's precautions against his Victims — Contrasted with 
Chnrchill's — Personal Bravado — War with the Hypocrisies 
carried too far 282 

Remonstrances of Dean Pearce and Churchill's replies — Pa- 
rishioners remonstrate, and he resigns his living — Generous 
uses of newly acquired wealth 283 

Epistle to Lloyd — Armstrong's attack in Day — Churchill's 

answer in Night — Allusion to Pitt 284 

Wilkes seeks Churchill — Character and Antecedents — Alliance 

Offensive and Defensive — Violent Party-Spirit reawakened 285 

Bute a Privy Councillor — Court Practices and Intrigues — 

Tamperings with Elections 286 

Prospects and Requisites for a Demagogue — Compact between 
Wilkes and Churchill — Honesty of it on the poet's side — 
Medmenham Abbey Scandals 287 

Excuses and disadvantages of a Satirist — Evil influences of the 

Time — Churchill's claims to Respect . . . .288 

Morality of his Satire — Contrast with Hanbury Williams's Inde- 
cencies and Lampoons — New fashions in Verse — Durability 
of the Old 289 

Publication of First Book of the Ghost — Poetical Tristram 

Shandy — Poet-laureate Whitehead's fine-gentleman airs . 290 

Comparative Failure in eight-syllable verse — Constantly recur- 
ring necessity of rhyme — Tends to diffuseness — More suc- 
cessful in Duellist — Piqued by a Subject — Bishop War- 
bui-ton 291 

Tribunes of the People — Doings of the Court — Pitt turned out, 
and Bute Prime-Minister — Dashwood a Minister and Bubb 
Dodington a Lord 292 

The Briton established by Bute— The North Briton established 

by WUkes— A Match to a Train 293 

Churchill helps in the Explosion — Satirises the Scotch in the 

Prophecy of Famine — Whig raptures . . . .294 

Tory terrors — Exultation of the Satirist — A fresh Plague for 

the Scotch — Tributes to the New Poem . . . . 295 

Its witty and masterly exaggerations — Resemblances to Dryden 

and Marvel . .296 

The Highland Lass and her Lover — A Starved Scene — The Cave 

of Famine ......... 297 

Ingenuity of Praise — Supposing what is Not Prose to be Poetry 
— Sudden Popularity — Recommended to return to Church 
— Benefices in Prospect 298 

Manly self-assertion— Above temptation — Not lacking prefer- 
ment — Dislike of the Aristocracy ... . . 299 


Charles Churchill. page 

Horace Walpole's picture of him — Private life — Fierce Extremes 

— Resignation of Bute — Sandwich and Halifax in office . 300 

No. 45 of North Briton— General Warrants for arrest of Wilkes 
and Churchill — Great questions arising out of them — 
Wilkes's arrest and Churchill's escape 301 

The Trial before Chief Justice Pratt— Hogarth in the Court 
sketching Wilkes — Publishes his Caricature — Anger of 
Churchill . . ■ 302 

The Epistle to Hogarth — Heavy hitting — Unpublished Letter of 

ChurchiU 303 

Character of the Epistle — The Man savagely attacked, but the 

Genius spared — Tribute to Hogarth's greatness , . 304 

Garrick's opinion — Lord Bath's — General excitement — Hogarth's 

Rejoinder — Print of Churchill as the Bear . . . , 305 

Churchill meditates further attack — Refrains on a lady's sug- 
gestion — Reconciliation with Hogarth prevented by death — 
Churchill's Mistress — Origin of the Connection — Walpole's 
account, and Southey's 306 

Churchill's expressions of Remorse — His Poem of the Conference 

— Affecting self-references ....... 307 

Unequal conflict of Vice and Virtue — Appeal on Churchill's 

behalf 308 

Anecdote from Adventures of a Guinea — Conduct to an Unfor- 
tunate — Offices of the Good Samaritan . . . . 309 

Absence from London — Robert Lloyd's imprisonment — Churchill's 
grateful kindness — Goes to him in the Fleet — Supports 
him — Gets up subscription for his release — A true poet . 310 

Specimens of his Poetry apart from his Satire — On the Conquests 

in America 311 

His Five Ages — Infancy, Childhood, Youth, Manhood, and Old 

Age 312 

Paraphrase of Isaiah — Charming repetitions — A suggestion for 

Bums — The North Briton burnt — Wilkes prosecuted . . 313 

Sandwich's Display in the House of Lords — ^Warburton's assault 

— Resolve to expel Wilkes from the House of Commons . 314 

Ministerial prosecution drives him into France — The Duellist 
published — Wilkes's Scheme to get help from French Go- 
vernment — Opposed by Churchill — His fame abroad . . 315 

Manner of Composition — Haste^ yet Care — Avoids Literary So- 
ciety — Dr. Johnson corrects his fii'st opinion of him — Not 
so bad as he seemed 316 

Establishment at Acton Common — Mode of living— Greediness 
of gain imputed to him — Cowper's reply to that objection — 
Tribute to old school-fellow in the Table Talk . . .317 

The Author published— Horace Walpole's admiration . . 318 

Praise of the Critics — Appearance of Gotham — Idea of a Patriot 

King in Verse — Descriptive Poetry of a high order , .319 

CONTENTS. xxiii 

Charles CIiurcMIl. page 

Gotham less successful than the Personal Satires — Dryden's 
Religio Laici less attractive than MacFlecknoe — Bookseller 
Johnson to his son Samuel 320 

A Subject for a Satire — Lord Sandwich a Candidate for High 
Stewardship of Cambridge — Churchill publishes The Candi- 
date 321 

Churchill's character of Sandwich compared with Dryden's of 
Buckingham — Appearance of The Farewell, The Times, and 
Independence . 322 

What is a Lord — Churchill's self-painted portrait — Plays the 
Hogarth to his own defects — Last unfinished Poem — His 
Dedication to Wai-burton — Hogarth on his death-bed . 323 

Churchill's strange anticipation of his own impending fate — 
Goes hastily to Boulogne — Illness seizes him — Wilkes and 
other friends summoned. . . . . . . • 324 

Dictates his will — Dies — Garrick's comment — His first emotion 

not grief 325 

Penalties of Popularity — Forged Letters — Charles Lloyd's and 
Sister Patty's grief — Two broken hearts at Churchill's 
grave — Wilkes's Professions of grief ..... 326 

What Wilkes will do for his friend — What Wilkes really did for 
his friend — Churchill's body brought over to Dover— Tablet 
to his Memory ........ 327 

Lord Byron at Churchill's grave — Moralizes on the Glory and the 

Nothing of a Name 328 

V. SAMUEL FOOTE. 1720- 1777. 

(From the Quarterly Review, September 1854. With Additions. ) 329—462. 

A Joker's reputation— Lives and dies in a Generation — The Wit 

of one reign the Bore of the reign succeeding . . . 329 

Laughter* s losing race against the Decorums — Swift tripped up 
by Tale of a Tub— Men of great social repute denied any 
other — Books upon English Humourists and Satirists — 
Foote omitted 330 

A forgotten Name — What it once expressed — A terrible and 
delightful Reality— Various emotions inspired by his writ- 
ings .......... 331 

What Foote claimed for his Comedies — Claim not admitted — 
Johnson's sarcasm against him — Adopted by writers since — 
Walter Scott's opinion — Macaulay's .... 332 

Reasons for disputing them — Unfavourable effect of Foote's 
acting on his literary reputation — Introduction of real cha- 
racters justified by Vanbrugh, Farquhar, and Moliere . . 333 

Limits of the strictly Personal in satire— Intention of writer lost 


Samuel Foote. page 

in mimickry of actor— Endeavour to explain Foote's title 

to the fame he acquired . . . . . , 334 

Readiness of his Humour — Impossible to put him at Disadvant- 
age— Specimens of his Wit — At White's Club — In Macklin's 
lecture-room — At his friend Delaval's . . . . 335 

At Lord Stormont's — Abating and dissolving Pompous Gentle- 
men — Hint to Hugh Kelly — The foolish Duke of Cumber- 
land — Jokes worth remembering 336 

Haunted by a Murdered tune — Old Cornish parson with his 
Glebe in his hands — Among Mrs. Montagu's blue-stockings 
— A doctor with too many irons in the fire — A mercantile 
gentleman's poem . 337 

Foote compared with Quin and Garrick — Johnson's opinion of 
Foote's Incompressibility — Might serve for description of 
Falstaff's wit — Genius for Escape 338 

Foote's mimickry a peculiar power — Dangers incident to its ex- 
ercise — Hard for what is brimful not to run over — Tyranny 
in the Habit of jesting — Startling introduction to a Club of 
Wits .......... 339 

Samuel Foote born at Truro — His father an active magistrate — 

His mother a woman of fortune — Resemblances to her son 340 

A boy at Worcester collegiate school — Mimickry of grown-up 
people — First in all pranks against authority — Talent for 
making fun of Elders and Superiors .... 341 

Student at Oxford — Acting Punch — Other extravagances — 
Making fun of Provost Gower — Outrage of University dis- 
cipline— Quits Oxford — Enters of the Temple— Why designed 
for a lawyer — Imaginary Affiliation Case . . . . 342 

Startling Tragedy — Close of a Family Quarrel— One of his Uncles 

procures the other to be Murdered 343 

Captain Goodere RN hanged, and Foote gets part of the 
estate of Sir John Dinely Goodere, Bart — Makes a figure 
in London clubs and taverns — Vicinity of Theatres still head 
quarters of Wit — First appearance at the Bedford . . . 344 

Two years of dissipation — Renting the Worcestershire Family 
Seat — In the Fleet— Murphy's cheerful day with him 
there 345 

His alleged first essay in Authorship — Pamphlet on the Catas- 
trophe of his Uncles — Account of it 346 

Meeting with old Oxford Fellow students — Witty concealment of 

defective wardrobe — Succeeds to a Second Fortune . .347 

Tradition of his Marriage, and a ghostly serenade — Reasons for 
doubting it — A laughing Excuse for Bachelorhood — The 
Second Fortune spent — Reappears at the Bedford . . . 348 

Another accession to the circle — Poor young Collins— The laugh 

turned against Foote — Garrick's sudden success . .349 


Samuel Foote. page 

Raging of Theatrical Factions — Active part taken by Macklin 

and Foote — Form a third party among the Critics . . . 350 

Foote's theatrical writings — Treatise on the Passions — Essays on 
Comedy and Tragedy — Necessity of making provision for 
himself — Taste for the Stage — Consults his friends the 
Delavals 351 

Joins Macklin and the Actors against Gamck and the Patentees 
— Appears at Haymarket — Why Debutants select Othello — 
Garrick's failure in it — Pompey and the Tea-tray — Mr. 
Pope's nod of approval to Macklin 352 

Foote's doubtful reception in Othello — His second character 
more successful — Lord Foppington — Hints from Gibber — 
Goes over to Dublin — His Wit more remembered there than 
his Acting 353 

Returns to Drury Lane — Characters played in his first season — 
Sir Harry Wildair, Lord Foppington, Tinsel, Sir Novelty 
Fashion, Sir Courtley Nice, Younger Loveless, Dick Amlet, 
Bayes — Fits his own humourous peculiarities . . .354 

His personal appearance — Garrick Club Dramatic Portraits — 
Nineveh of a Lost Art — Reynolds's poi-trait of Foote — Tra- 
ditions of Bayes — Garrick's innovations condemned by 
Cibber and Lord Chesterfield 355 

Foote's performance of Bayes — Imitates actors — Satirizes poli- 
ticians — His Improvised Additions suggest a New Enter- 
tainment — Diversions of the Morning .... 356 

Its extraordinary effect — Epilogue of the Bedford Coffee-house 
— Name of English Aristophanes given to Foote — Actors 
take up arms against their assailant . . ... 357 

Licensing Act applied against him — Constables put it in force — 
Invites his friends to Morning Chocolate — Sir Dilbury Diddle 
and Lady Betty Frisk — No more Magistrates' Warrants . 358 

Mr. Foote's Morning Chocolate — Entertainment described — 

Troop of Actors brought together — Castallo and Ned Shuter 359 

Actors complaints jested off — Foote no longer opposed — Changes 
his Morning entertainment into Evening — Mr. Foote's 
Tea — An offer from Covent Garden — Foote's Auction 
of Pictures 360 

Its run at Haymarket — Interrupted by Bottle Conjuror — The 
Duke of Montagu's hoax — New Lots at the Auction — The 
Great Weakness of the day — Agencies for all Deceptions 361 

Foote's picture of an Auctioneer — Everything alike to him, and 
be alike in everything — As eloquent on a Ribbon as on a 
Raffaele — Vehicle for personal and public Satire . . . 362 

Mixed feelings provoked — Deference, Fear, and Popularity — 
Distinction between his unpublished and his published 
pieces — The question stated as to Individual Satire — Doubts 
involved — Limits of Legitimate Comedy .... 363 

Foote's first published piece — The Knights — Happy medium 

between farce and comedy — Dialogue and Character . . 364 


Samuel Foote. 

Sir Penurious Trifle and Sir Gregory Gazette— Wealthy Miser 

and Country Quidnunc — Personal introduction . . . 365 

A proposed Treaty with the Pope imparted to Sir Gregory — How 
we are all to be made of One Mind — Sir Gregory's exulta- 
tation ... 366 

Copies from Life — No Vampings from Antiquated plays or Pil- 

feriiigs from French farces— Sir Penurious played by Foote 367 

Woodward the Comedian threatens Tit for Tat — The Mimic sen- 
sitive to Mimickry — Sarcastic letter to Garrick and Gar- 
rick's reply ..... ... 368 

Fitful intercourse of Foote and Garrick — The men marked out 
for Rivalry — Foote the most frequent aggressor — Garrick' s 


Garrick's alleged love of money — Foote's Jokes thereon — A Thief 
in the Candle— The Captain of the Four Winds— The bust 
on Foote's Bureau 370 

A Guinea going far — Friendly feeling underlying Sarcasm — In- 
tercourse uninterrupted by the Laugh — Garrick in Foote's 
Green-room 371 

The Hampton Temple to Shakespeare — Players not invited to 
the Libations — Principle of not losing Friend for Joke, 
unless Joke be better than Friend — Foote's ready Scholarship 372 

At dinner with Charles Fox and his friends — Takes the lead in 
Conversation — Johnson's rebuke to Boswell for underrating 
him — Ti-ibute to his powers — Foote and Garrick at Chief 
Justice Mansfield's table — Advantages of Not Paying one's 
Debts 373 

Foote's introduction to Johnson — The dinner at Fitzherbert's — 

Johnson's resolve Not to be pleased, and What came of it . 374 

Johnson at Foote's dinner-table — ^With Foote in Bedlam — Enjoy- 
ment of Foote's sayings — Sleeping partnership in a brewery 375 

The little black boy and Foote's small beer — His Third Fortune 
spent — Companionship with the Delavals — A scandal re- 
ported by Walpole 376 

Change of Scene necessary — Visit to the Continent — Return to 
London — Garrick produces his Comedy of Taste — Dedica- 
tion to Sir Francis Delaval 377 

Pope's Jemmy Worsdale — Profits of Taste given to him — Design 
of the Comedy — Ridicule of false not of true connoisseur- 
ship — Appreciation of Rafifaele as well as of Hogarth — Old 
Master Carmine 378 

His antecedents — Mr. Pufi" discovers him — Manufacture of 

Guides — Profits how distributed 379 

Fashionable portrait painting — Lady Pentweazle sits for her 
picture — The part played by Worsdale — Calling up a Look 
—Criticism by Mr. Puff 380 

Foote again upon the Stage — His Englishman in Paris — With 
Garrick in France — Strange reports about him — Gairick's 
Prologue 381 

CONTENTS. xxvii 

Samuel Foote. page 

Keception in London— Congreve's Ben and Farqnhar's Captain 
Brazen added to his parts — At the Haymarket laughing at 
Macklin — Engagement at Covent-garden .... 382 

Plays his own Lady Pentweazle and Congreve's Sir Paul Plyant 
— Advertised for Polonius — The Englishman returned from 
Paris 383 

Satire on the French — A John Bull view of French fashions and 

foibles in 1754— Moral for the True Briton . . .384 

Foote again at the Bedford — Macklin removed to the Tavistock 
— His three shilling Ordinary and shilling Lecture — Oppor- 
tunities for Foote in Macklins lecture-room — Laughs at the 
Lectures — On the Irish Duel 385 

On Memory by Rote — The great She-bear and the Barber — The 
Grand Panjandrum — Foote establishes a Summer Lecture 
of his own 386 

Haymarket tragedy after the Greek manner — Haymarket Lec- 
ture crowded — Macklin's shut up — Foote's friendship with 
Arthur Murphy — Their early intercourse . . . . 387 

First night of Orphan of China — A Dinner with Hogarth and 
Delaval— Hearing Pitt in House of Commons — Misunder- 
standing 388 

Murphy puts Foote into a comedy — Intended posthumous ridicule 
of his friend's failings — Comedy of the Author produced — 
Its character and merits 389 

Absence of all pretence in Foote's writings — Neither false senti- 
ment nor affected language — No face-making — Reality of 
the Satire — Perfection of Comic Dialogue . . . . 390 

Absurdity of comparison with Aristophanes — But some qualities 
shared with the Greek — Athens in age of Pericles, and 
London in time of Bubb Dodington — Old Vamp of Turn- 
stile — A Patron and Protector of Authors . . . 391 

Mr. Vamp's clients — Harry Handy and Mr. Cape— Vamp's 
grandson in training for a politician — Foote's Author a 
Gentleman 392 

Introduction of Mr. Cadwallader — The part played by Foote . 393 

Shout of surprise at his appearance — Dressed at a Real person 
— His double sitting in the Boxes — Mr. Ap-Rice laughs at 
the caricature of himself — Popularity of the Author — • 
Kitty Olive's Becky 394 

Inconvenient results for Mr, Ap-Rice — Moves the Lord Cham- 
berlain against Foote — The Author suppressed — Lord 
Chamberlain's subsequent concession of Haymarket licence 395 

Failure in Dublin of the first Sketch of the Minor — The Irish 
Engagement — Tate Wilkinson picked up by Shuter — Foote 
takes him to Dublin — How they journeyed there . . . 396 

Wilkinson's recollections of Foote — Their worthlessness — Secret 
of the failure to depict men of genius — They contain what 
you can find in them, no less or more .... 397 

xxviii CONTENTS. 

Samuel Foote. page 

Odd adventure in Dublin — Foote playing the Conjm'or — Taken 
ojff by Wilkinson — Entertainment of Tea with his ptipil — 
Its popularity 398 

Foote' s reception at the Castle — Rehearsing Minor -with Mr. 
Rigby — Its failure on Dublin stage — His reappearance at the 
Bedford in London — Twitted with the failure — Foote de- 
fends his attack on Whitfield ...... 399 

The great Leader of the Methodists in his pulpit — His audiences 
at Hampton Common and Moorfields — Effecting for Low 
Church what Puseyism attempts for High Church — Making 
religion vital in direction of Calvinism . . . . 400 

Drawbacks and disadvantages — Scorn of the Chesterfields and 

Walpoles — Foote's unsparing attack .... 401 

His character of Mrs. Cole — An edified member of Mr. Squin- 

tum's congregation — Purpose of the satire . . . . 402 

Extraordinary success of the Minor in London — Foote doubles 
Mrs. Cole and Mr. Smirk — Effort to stop the performance — 
Lord Chamberlain refuses to interfere — The Archbishop of 
Canterbuiy appealed to — Declines to meddle — Attack by 
Whitfield's friends — Foote's reply . ' . . . 403 

Anachronisms in his pamphlet — No disproof of his scholarship 

— Recollections of him at Eton acting in Greek plays . . 404 

Argument against abolishing what is Grood because pervertible to 
Bad — Foote exhibits Thespis and Whitfield in their respec- 
tive Carts — Asserts the claim of Minor to be called Comedy 
not Farce — Comedy not dependent on number of acts . 405 

Hints taken by Sheridan and Holcroft from Foote's Minor — 
Original of Little Moses and his friend Premium — The brisk 
Mr. Smirk — Pleasant but Wrong 406 

Sam Shift the Link-boy — Experiences of the World in Avenues 
of the playhouse — Taken into Whimsical Man's service — 
Sets up for himself — Laugh at Tate Wilkinson . . . 407 

Keen knowledge of character — General Characteristics in Par- 
cular Forms— The family of the Wealthys— As good as a 
Picture by Hogarth ' . 408 

Crop-eared 'prentices of Past Generation compared with Modem 
City lads — The Old country gentleman with the Modern 
man of fashion — Foote's increase of reputation from The 
Minor— Joint-Manager of Drury-Lane with Murphy . . 409 

Production of the Liar — A Laugh for Goldsmith— Sketch from 

the Life of a Monthly Reviewer 410 

Production of Bentley's Comedy of the Wishes — Private Rehear- 
sal at Bubb Dodington's — Bute and other great Folk present 
—Proposed Prologue, and its Flattery of the Young King 
and the Favorite — Foote refuses to speak it — Too strong . 411 

Laugh at Bubb Dodington in the Patron— Its happy leading 

notion — Character of Sir Thomas Lofty . . . .412 

His Chorus of Flatterers— Patronage of Bad poets as vile as 

Neglect of Good ones— The Damned Play and its Author . 413 


Samuel Foote. page 

Hints for Sir Fretful Plagiary — Foote doubles Sir Thomas Lofty 

with Sir Peter Pepperpot 414 

A Laugh at the Society of Antiquaries — Resemblance of Miss 
Lofty to Bust of the Princess Poppsea —Weston's acting in 
Martin Rust ... - 415 

Sketches of Underling Bards and Hack Booksellers — Mr, Dactyl 
and Mr. Puff — A Garretteer in Wine-oflfice Court — Existing 
relations of Literature and Publishing . . , .416 

A self-important personage — Mi-. Alderman Faulkner — Lord 
Chesterfield — Faulkner introduced in The Orators — His 
wooden leg — A caricature of a caricature — Foote's subse- 
quent causes for regret 417 

Mr. Peter Paragraph played by Foote — Ridicule of Spirit Rap- 
pings— Cock Lane Ghost 418 

Speakers at the Robin Hood — The respected Gentleman in the 
Sleeves — Lord Chesterfield ironically advises Faulkner to 
prosecute Foote — The advice taken gravely — Action tried 
in Dublin 419 

Foote puts Jury, Counsel, and Judge, into an interpolated scene 
in The Orators— Produces the Mayor of Garrett— Carica- 
tures the Duke of Newcastle and Justice Lamb . . . 420 

Wit and entertainment of the Mayor of Garrett — Major Sturgeon, 
Jerry Sneak, Matthew Mug, and Peter Primer —Its success, 
and Mr. Whitehead's opinion thereupon .... 421 

Foote produces The Commissary — Aimed at the successful army 
contractors of the Seven Years' War— Copies Moliere and 
laughs at Dr. Arne — Reader introduced to Mrs. Mechlin . 422 

Her commodities and customers — New lights in match-making 

— Marriage of the Macaroni parson Dodd satirised . . 423 

Illustrations from Walpole's Letters — Charles Fox's actual 

Mrs. Mechlin — Reality of Foote's satire . . . . 424 

Foote at highest point of his fortune — Splendid seasons at Hay- 
market — His vogue in Paris — His fashionable life in London 
— Wide range of his celebrity — The Boys invite him to 
Eton 425 

His respect for literary men — Gray, Mason, and Goldsmith — 
Duke of York visits him — He visits Lord Mexborough — 
Accident in hunting — His leg amputated .... 426 

Touching correspondence with Garrick — Lord Chesterfield's an- 
nouncement to Faulkner 427 

Kindness of the Court — King grants him Patent for Haymarket 
— Rebuilds the Theatre — Appears again, with false leg, 
on the Stage 428 

Nine original dramas in nine years — Toils of acting and man- 
agement — Sufferings from illness — Produces Devil on Two 
Sticks— Satirises Practitioners in Physic . . . . 429 

Doctor Brocklesby and Mrs. Macauley — Good humoured Satire 
— Socratic party in the Boxes — The President of College 


Samuel Foote. page 

of Physicians— Little Apozem the Apothecary — Zoffany's 
picture 430 

Production of the Lame Lover — Foote's jokes against Attornies 

— Grand battery against the Law 431 

The case of Hobson and Nobson — Arguments on either side — 

Footmen and Maids aping Masters and Mistresses . . 432 

Hero of the Lame Lover — Sir Luke Limp — Laugli at Prince 

Boothby — Son of Fielding's Sophia Western . . . 433 

Sir Luke Limp's Engagements — Busy -with everybody's affairs 
but his own — Invitations to Dinner — The Alderman, the 
Knight, the Lord, and the Duke — Rank-worship laughed 
at — No Flunkey ism in Foote 434 

Produces the Maid of Bath — Garrick's prologue — Local por- 
traiture of Bath — Satire of Home Tooke and Miser Long — 
Visit of Cumberland and Garrick to Foote's house at Par- 
son's Green 435 

Production of the Nabob —Borough of Bribe' m — The Christian 

Club — A Negro suggested for Member . . . .436 

Question for the Licenser of Plays — Unpublished letter of Lord 
Hertford to Horace Walpole — Ridicule of the Society of 
Antiquaries . . . . . . . . . 437 

Nabobs go to see the Nabob — Sir Matthew White and General 
Smith — Invite Foote to their Houses — He produces the 
Puppet Show 438 

Piety in Pattens—Laugh at Politics and Public Men — Senti- 
mental Comedy overthrown — The Stratford Jubilee . . 439 

Garrick and Foote at Lord Stafford's — Interchange of hospitali- 
ties — Good feeling between Foote and Grarrick — Their ser- 
vices to each other ....... 440 

Foote's public compliment to Mrs. Garrick — Writing Candi- 
dates' Addresses for the Mock Election at Garrett — Pro- 
duction and success of the Bankrupt 441 

Mercantile Failures of 1772 — Sir George Fordyce and the 
Scotch Bankers — Foote satirises Newspaper Slanders — 
Last visit to Scotland 442 

Visits Ireland for last time — Lord Harcourt's hospitalities — 

Sadness of his Occasional Prologue 443 

Behind the Scenes in Dublin — O'Keefe's recollections of him — 

A Green-room incident 444 

Generosity to Players — Encouragement of the Young — Support 
of the Old — Not a slave to the Actor" s Vice of jealousy — 
Playing for a Christmas Dinner 445 

Unpublished letter to Garrick — Characteristic allusions — The 
Literary Club — Foote's habit of reading in bed — Narrow 
escape of becoming a Toast 446 

Little Jephson and Foote in the Parliament House — Mr. Alder- 
man Faulkner — An original letter — Message to Mrs. 
Garrick 447 


Samuel Foote. 

Refusal to satirise upon Appearances only — Again in London — 
Produces his Cozeners — Legitimate Satire — Macaroni 
Preachers and Traders in Simony — Mrs. Rudd and Mrs. 
Fleec'em 448 

Charles Fox's Adventure with West Indian Heiress introduced 
— Painting of Charles's eyebrows— The Private Boxes con- 
vulsed — Dr. Dodd's attempted Bribery of Lady Apsley . 449 

Foote's Dr. Simony — The most "populous" of Preachers — His 
short Sermons and short Wig — No scruples in Duty or 
Doctrine 450 

Ridicule of Chesterfield's Letters to his Son — Further burlesque 
of them meditated — Johnson's suggestion — Foote's illness 
and projected surrender of his theatre . . . .451 

One more new Comedy — The Trip to Calais — Strikes at Duchess 

of Kingston — She strikes again — Her blow the heaviest . 452 

Appeal to the Chamberlain — Foote's letter to Lord Hertford — 
Suppression of his play would close his public life — Lord 
Hertford suggests a compromise . . . . . 453 

Interview at Kingston House — Offers to Foote — His rejection 
of them — Batteries of private slander opened remorselessly 
against him ......... 454 

A cry of pain — Offer to withdraw Scenes if Libels are with- 
drawn — The Duchess's Letter 455 

Foote's Reply to the Duchess — Masterpiece of Wit and Satire — 

Lord Mountstuart called in evidence 456 

Horace Walpole's opinion of the Controversy — Mason's — Dr. 

Hoadly's — The Duchess's Trial and Conviction of Bigamy . 457 

Foote's resolve— Produces The Capuchin — Satirises his libeller 
Jackson — Packing of Audience at the Haymarket — Con- 
spiracy against Foote — Unnameable slanders — Foote pro- 
secutes the Slanderer . . . . . . .458 

Reopens the Haymarket — His Reception and his Appeal — Pun- 
ishment of his Libeller — Counter-accusation got up against 
Foote 459 

The Trial deferred — Foote's sufferings — Grarrick's kindness — 
The friends who rallied round him — Burke, Reynolds, 
— Fitzherbert, the Royal Dukes, and other noblemen — Trial 
before Lord Mansfield 460 

Murphy the messenger of the Verdict — Foote's extraordinary 
emotion — Lets his Theatre to Colman — Complete list of his 
Dramatic Pieces, and dates of Performance— At the Queen's 
Drawing-Room — Last appearance on the Stage . .461 

Reaches Dover on his way to France — His Death — Buried in 
the Cloisters of Westminster Abbey— No memorial in 
marble or stone ........ 462 

Index 463 




Histoire de la RepuhUque d'Angleterre et de Cromwell. Par M. Guizot. 

Richard Cromwell. Par M. Guizot. 

History of Oliver Cromwell and the English Commonwealth. By M. Guizot. 
Translated from the French. 

Up to the time when Mr. Macaulay, some seyen and 
twenty years ago, remarked of the character of Cromwell 
in this Review, that though constantly attacked and 
scarcely ever defended, it had yet always continued 
popular with ^q great hody of his countrymen, it is un- 
questionable that the memory of the great Protector, 
assiduously blackened as it had been in almost every 
generation since his death, had failed to find a writer in 
any party entirely prepared to act as its champion. Down 
to the days of Mr. Hume, Cromwell remained for the 
most part what that philosophical historian very unphi- 
losophically called him, " a fanatical hypocrite ; " and 
though there was afterwards a great change, though to 
praise him was no longer punishable, to revile him became 
almost unfashionable, and at last the champion ready on 
every point to defend and uphold him was found in Mr. 
Carlyle, it is yet remarkable what differences of opinion 
as to his moral quaHties continued to prevail, where even 
the desire to exalt his intellectual abilities was most 
marked and prominent. We shall perhaps best exhibit 
this, and with it the authorities on which M. Guizot has 
had mainly to rely for that latest and not least admirable 

* From the Edinhurgh Review; January, 1856. With several omissions. 


of the written portraits of the Protector whicli we are 
about to introduce to our readers, if we briefly sketch 
Cromwell under the leading general aspects in which he 
has appeared to the students of English history, from the 
opening of the present century to our own day. That 
will of course exclude the old Tory and Fox-hunting 
style of talking of him, and restrict us to such expressions 
only as educated men need not blush to read. Under 
three di\dsions, we think, all may be sufficiently included. 
The first would run somewhat thus. That, when the 
struggle had passed from the parliament house into the 
field of battle, there somewhat suddenly arose into the 
first place amid the popular ranks, a man not more re- 
markable for his apparent religious fanaticism than for 
the sagacity of his practical outlook on afi'airs. So far 
indeed had the latter quality in him a tendency, as events 
moved on, to correct the former, that even what was 
sincere in his rehgious views soon yielded to the teachings 
and temptations of worldly experience, and religion itself 
became with him but the cloak to a calculating policy. 
His principal associates were bigots in repubHcanism ; 
but he had himself too much intellect to remain long 
under a delusion so preposterous, as that monarchy, 
aristocracy, and episcopacy were not essential to England. 
As the opponent of all three, nevertheless, he was pledged 
too deeply to recede ; and such was the false position in 
which his very genius and successes placed him, that, 
with no love for hypocrisy, he became of necessity, a 
hypocrite. To cant in his talk, to grimace in his gestures, 
on his very knees in prayer to know no humility, were 
the crooked ways by which alone he could hope to reach 
the glittering prize that tempted him. When at last it 
fell within his grasp, therefore, when he had struck aside 
the last life that intercepted his path to sovereignty, and 
al he sought was won, there came with it the inseparable 
attendants of discontent and remorse. " What would not 
" Cromwell have given," exclaims Mr. Southey, "whether 
" he looked to this world or the next, if his hands had 
" been clear of the king's blood ! " The height to which 
he afterwards rose never lifted him above that stain. It 
darkened the remainder of his life with sorrow. " Fain 
"would he have restored the monarchy," pui'sues Mr. 

Cromwe/L'] traitor to royalty or to liberty ? 3 

Southey, " created a house of peers, and re-established 
" tlie episcopal churcli." But his guilt to royalty was 
not to be cleansed, or his crime to society redeemed, by 
setting up mere inadequate forms of the precious insti- 
tutions he had overthrown. He lived only long enough 
to convince himself of this ; and at the close would have 
made himself the instrument for even a restoration of the 
Stuarts, if Charles the Second could have forgiven the 
execution of his father. But this was not thought possible, 
and Cromwell died a defeated and disappointed man. 

The second view of the character would arrive, by very 
different reasoning, at something like the same conclusion 
of grief and disappointment. Within somewhat similar 
toils of ambition, however, it exhibits a far greater and 
purer soul. It would seem to be founded on the belief, 
that a man must have thoroughly deceived himself before 
he succeeds on any great or extended scale in deceiving 
others ; and here the final remorse is made to arise, not 
from treason to royalty, but from treason to liberty. In 
this Cromwell, we have a man never wholly mthout a 
deep and sincere rehgion, however often able to wrest it 
to worldly purposes ; and, if never altogether without 
ambition, yet with the highest feelings and principles 
intenningUng with the earlier promptings of it. There 
is presented to us a man not always loving liberty, but 
always restless and insubordinate against tyranny ; and 
at the last, even with his hand upon the crown, driven 
back from it by the influence still possessed over him by 
old republican associates. His nature, in this view of 
it, is of that complicated kind, that, without being false 
to itself, it has yet not been true to others ; and it is even 
more the consciousness of what might have been his 
success, than the sense of what has been his failure, 
which constitutes the grief of his closing years. \Yhile 
he has grasped at a shadow of personal authority, the 
means of government have broken from him ; and, fail- 
ing as a sovereign, he cannot further succeed as a ruler. 
Difficulties without have accumulated, as perplexities 
within increased ; and his once lofty thoughts and aspira- 
tions have sunk into restless provisions for personal safety. 
The day which released his great spirit, therefore, the 
anniversary of his victories of Worcester and Dunbar, 

B 2 


was to be held still his Fortunate Day for the sake of 
the death it brought, not less than it was so held of old 
for the triumphs it associated with his name.^ 

The third stands apart from both of these, and may be 
taken as the expression of certain absolute results, to 
which a study of the entire of CromwelFs letters and 
speeches, brought into succinct arrangement and con- 
nection, has been able to bring so earnest an inquirer as 
Mr. Carlyle. We may thus describe them. That, in tha 
harsh untuneable voice which rose in protest against 
popery in the third parliament, was heard at once the 
complete type and the noblest development of what was 
meant by the Puritan Rebellion. That there then broke 
forth the utterance of a true man, of a consistency of 
character perfect to an heroic degree, and whose figure 
has heretofore been completely distorted by the mists of 
time and prepossession through which we have regarded 
it, as we looked back into the past. That this Cromwell 
was no hypocrite or actor of plays, had no vanity or pride 
in the prodigious intellect he possessed, was no theorist 
in politics or government, was no victim of ambition, was 
no seeker after sovereignty or temporal power. That he 
was a man whose every thought was with the Eternal, — 
a man of a great, robust, massive mind, and of an honest, 
stout, Enghsh heart : subject to melancholy for the most 
part, because of the deep yearnings of his soul for the 
sense of divine forgiveness; but inflexible and resolute 
always, because in all things governed by the supreme 
law. That, in him, was seen a man whom no fear but of 
the divine anger could distract ; whom no honour in man's 
bestowal could seduce or betray ; who knew the duty of 
the hour to be ever imperative, and who sought only to 
do the work, whatever it might be, whereunto he believed 
God to have called him. That, here was one of those 
rare souls which could lay upon itself the lowliest and the 
highest functions alike, and find itself, in them all, self- 

^ Such was the view I attempted posed veiy greatly indeed to modify 

to present of the character of this it ; though not by any means to adopt 

great man in my Statesmen of the the tone of dislike and depreciation 

Commonwealth. As the reader may of the Republicans and their design, 

probably infer from the tone of the which too generally accompanies the 

present Essay, I should now be dis- unsparing eulogy of Cromwell. 

Cromwell. ] views of carlyle and of guizot. 5 

contained and suflB.cient, — tlie dutiful gentle son, tlie quiet 
country gentleman, the sportive tender husband, the fond 
father, the active soldier, the daring political leader, the 
powerful sovereign, — under each aspect still steady and 
unmoved to the transient outward appearances of this 
world, still wrestling and trampling forward to the sub- 
lime hopes of another, and passing through every 
instant of its term of life as through a Marston 
Moor, a Worcester, a Dunbar. That such a man could 
not have consented to take part in public affairs, under 
any compulsion less strong than that of conscience.* That 
his business in them was to serve the Lord, and to bring 
his country under subjection to God's laws. That, if the 
statesmen of the republic who had laboured and fought 
with him, could not also see their way to that prompt 
sanctification of their country, he did well to strike them 
from his path, and unrelentingly denounce or imprison 
them. That he felt, unless his purpose were so carried 
out unflinchingly, a curse would be upon him ; that no 
act, necessitated by it, could be other than just and noble ; 
and that there could be no treason against royalty or 
liberty, unless it were also treason against God. That, 
finally, as he had lived he died, in the conviction that 
human laws were nothing unless brought into agreement 
with divine laws, and that the temporal must also mean 
the spiritual government of man. 

And now, with these three aspects of the same character 
before us, we may perhaps better measure the view which 
M. Guizot takes of Cromwell. Something of the first will 
be found in it ; of the second decidedly yet more ; and 
though it has nothing of the remorse with which both 
cloud the latter days of the Protector, it expresses the 
same sense of failure and loss, and stops with a faltering 
step far short of where his last and warmest panegyrist 
would place him. Free and unhesitating, nevertheless, is 
its admiration of his genius and greatness, and earnest 
and unshrinking the sympathy expressed with his courage 
and his practical aims. It would seem to be the view too 
exclusively of a statesman and a man of the world. The 
conclusion arrived at, is that of one who has lived too 
near to revolutions, and suffered from them too much, 
always to see them in their right proportions, to measure 


them patiently by their own laws, or to adjust them fairly 
to their settled meaning and ultimate design. But there 
is nothing in it which is petty or unjust ; nothing that is 
unworthy of a high clear intellect. 

M. Guizot thinks Cromwell to have been a great man, 
but with the drawback of having been too much ena- 
moured of the mere hard, substantial greatness, of this 
lower world. All that was noble in his mind, and all that 
was little, he was ever able, and too ready, to subordinate 
to the lust of material dominion. But, where that passion 
led him, there also lay what he believed to be his duty ; 
and if, in the pursuit of it, he suffered no principle of 
right to be a barrier upon his path, neither did he suffer 
any mists of petty vanity to cloud his perfect view of 
whatever hard or flinty road might lie before him. To 
Grovern, says M. Guizot, that was his design. The business 
of his life was to arrive at Government, and to maintain 
himself in it ; his enemies were those who would throw 
any bar or hindrance in the way of this ; and, excepting 
those whom he used as its agents, he had no friends. 
Such a man was Cromwell, if he be judged rightly by the 
French historian. He was a great and a successful, but 
an unscrupulous man. With equal success he attempted 
and accomplished the most opposite enterprises. During 
eighteen years a leading actor in the business of the 
world, and always in the character of victor, he by turns 
scattered disorder and established order, excited revo- 
lution and chastised it, overthrew the government and 
raised it again. At each moment, in each situation, he 
unravelled with a wonderful sagacity the passions and 
the interests that happened to be dominant ; and, twist- 
ing all their threads into his own web of policy, he clothed 
himself ever with their authority, and knew still how to 
identify with theirs his own dominion. Always bent upon 
one great aim, he spurned any charge of inconsistency as 
to the means by which he pursued it. His past might 
at any time belie his present, but for that he cared little. 
He steered his bark according to the wind that blew ; 
and, however the prow might point at one time and 
another, it was enough for him if he could ride the stormy 
waters of the revolution, and make short voyage without 
shipwreck to the harbour beyond. The singleness of his 

Cromwell. ~\ causes of failure. 7 

aim was tlie consistency tliat covered any inconsistency 
in the conduct of his enterprise. His work was good 
if it attained its crown. His seamanship was credit- 
able if it took him safely across to the desired port, 
port royal. 

Not that this expressed in him any mean or low desire 
for a merely selfish aggrandisement. It is a main point 
in M. Guizot's judgment of the character of Cromwell, 
that he holds him to have been a man who felt quite as 
distinctly as M. Guizot himself feels, an absence of prac- 
tical sense in even the noblest system that is Kevolutionary. 
He was thoroughly aw.are that a people Kke the English, 
reverent of law, though they might crush a king by whom 
the law had been defied, would nevertheless remain true 
in their hearts to the principle of monarchy. When he 
proposed, therefore, finally to stand before the English 
as their sovereign, the Cromwell of M. Guizot was but 
shaping his ambition by the spirit of the nation he sought 
to rule. His soul was too great to be satisfied with a 
mere personal success. To become a constitutional king 
was only his last aim but one. His last, and the dearest 
object of his life, was to transmit a crown and sceptre, as 
their birthright, to succeeding members of his family. 
He was a man, however, who could conquer, but who 
could not found. He conquered much more than the 
power of King of England, but also much less than the 
name ; and while it was his own wish, as well as the genius 
of the nation, to govern by Parliaments, and not an efibrt 
was left unattempted by him to put off his absolutist 
habits, and to live within the means of a ruler account- 
able to Lords and Commons, these were the only labours 
of his life in which he failed. To substitute for a weak 
House of Stuart a strong House of CromAvell, at the gate 
of the temple of the Constitution, was, if M. Guizot be 
right in his view, the most persistent aim of the Protec- 
torate. But herein the Protector failed ; and the histo- 
rian to whom disorder is the synonym for revolution, 
closes with this sentence the Histoire de la Bqnibliqiie 
d' Angleterre et de Cromwell: 

" God does not grant to the great men who have set 
*' on disorder the foundations of their greatness, the 
" power to regulate at their pleasure and for centuries, 


" even according to their best wishes, the government 
" of nations.'^ ^ 

That is the moral of the book ; and it may be well that 
the reader should see, before we proceed further, how the 
few simple and pregnant words composing it are given in 
the English version. M. Guizot's translator'"' states his 
endeavour to have been " to make as literal a translation 
" as was compatible with our English idiom ;" and the 
sentence, which translates literally as above, is adapted 
to English idiom after the following fashion : " God 
" does not grant to those great men who have laid the 
" foundation of their greatness amidst disorder and revo- 
*' lution, the power of regulating at their pleasure, and 
" for succeeding ages, the government of nations.'* Of 
which sentence, the accommodation to English idiom con- 
sists in the addition of " and revolution " to " disorder," 
whereby the English implies that the two things are dif- 
ferent, whereas it is the spirit of the French to assume 
that they are like ; and in the entire omission of the 
very pregnant clause by which both the summary of 
Cromwell's ambition is qualified to his credit, and the 
moral the historian would draw from it is pointedly en- 
forced, namely, that in the opinion of M. Guizot, even 
designs that might seem well worthy of completion are 
frustrated by the divine wisdom, when disorder is used as 
a step to their accomplishment. 

As it is in this opening sentence, however, so it is, we 
regret to say, through the greater part of the translator's 
work ; and since we have interrupted ourselves to say so 
much, we may as well delay the reader a little longer to 
prove it. For, it is surely to be regretted that a book 
like this by M. Guizot, so especially interesting to Eng- 

1 * ' Dieu n'accorde pas aux grands an important one, and they are re- 
" hommes qui ont pose dans le des- tained for that reason. I am bound 
** ordre les fondements de leur to add, however, that the same 
** grandeur, le pouvoir de regler, translator acquitted himself infi- 
*' 4 leur gre et pour des siecles, nitely better in the execution of the 
** m^meselonleursmeilleursdesirs, second part of M. Guizot's work, 
*' le gouvernement des nations," devoted to Richard Cromwell. This 

2 In again reading these remarks latter book, taken as a whole, is a 
on M. Guizot's translator, the tone version of the original neither un- 
is here and there unnecessarily pleasing nor unfaithful, 

V harsh ; but the question raised is 

Cromwell. ~\ style extinguished. 9 

lisliineii tliat a place was at once ready in our permanent 
literature for a good translation of it, should have failed 
to find the proper care and attention in this respect. If 
books were to be swallowed like water, with no regard to 
the mere pleasure of the taste, it would matter little ; but 
there is a style in writing as there is a bouquet in wine, 
and if M. Guizot's be a little thin, it is yet pure, refined, 
and sparkling, with a delicate aroma. As he presents it 
to us, it is never flat or insipid ; but it is a sad plunge 
from M. Guizot's flask to his translator's bucket, and 
whatever spirit the original possessed is found to have 
almost or altogether disappeared. A reconstruction 
into verbose, round-in-the-mouth sentences, is the de- 
struction of M. Guizot's French. The sense comes 
mufiled, as though the voice reached us through a 
feather bed. Let any one who cares to be at so much 
trouble, read separately this history and its translation, 
and he will be surprised to flnd how much is lost when 
style is lost. The two versions leave absolutely difi'erent 
impressions of the author's mind. 

Without any special search for glaring instances, we 
will begin at the beginning. We will take the first 
dozen pages (written when the translator, fresh to his 
work, could hardly have begun to sKp through weariness), 
and see what has been made of them. The very title, we 
regret to say, has been altered in significance. M. Guizot 
wrote History of the Commomvealth of England and of 
Cromwell, and this the translator makes compatible with 
English idiom by writing History of Oliver Cromwell and 
the English Commomvealth. It does not occur to him 
that there may be sense, no less than sound, in the order 
of the words placed upon his title-page by the historian. 
His problem is to impart what he conceives to be an easy 
flow to a given number of vocables ; and if for him they 
flow better upside down than straightforward, they are 
inverted accordingly. 

It is a noticeable peculiarity of M. Guizot, that in 
characterising historical persons he shows himself prone 
to dwell on the contradictory appearances assumable by 
the same nature. Whenever it is possible, he marks the 
two sides which belong to human character, and the ease 
with which opposite opinions of the same individual may 


"witli no dishonesty be formed. Of this there is of course 
no example in his book, or in the whole range of human 
history, so prominent as Cromwell himself; and the 
temptation is great to the historian to bring out such 
contrasts in strong antithetical expression. So marked 
in M. Guizot is generally, indeed, this form of speech, 
that it takes but the least additional strain to turn it 
into nonsense ; and not seldom his translator goes far to 
effect this, by multiplying words ^vithout the least neces- 
sity. It is quite curious how he yields to the temptation 
of rolling off high-sounding sentences. In the opening 
words of the book, he cannot give simply even such an 
epithet as " the lustre of their actions and their destiny," 
" I'eclat de leur actions et de leur destinee," without 
turning it into " the splendour of their actions and the 
*' magnitude of their destiny." 

The history begins with a picture of the Long Parlia- 
ment under its republican chiefs, reduced in number by 
secessions following the execution of the King, and re- 
garded without S}Tnpathy by the main body of the people. 
In the February following the execution, there were not 
more than seventy-seven members who recorded votes at 
any of the divisions, and of these divisions M. Guizot 
counts eight. The translator alters this into ten, without 
a note to indicate the change. The parliamentary leaders, 
M. Guizot continues, set to work, "avec une ardeur pleine 
" en meme temps de foi et d'inquietude : " a hint of the 
secret disquiet at the heart of theorists committed sud- 
denly to action, which loses both subtlety and sense by 
the translator's exaggeration of disquiet into anxiety, and 
by his yoking of an adjective to each noun for the more 
dignified and sonorous roll of the period. They set to 
work, he says, with an ardour full " at once of strong 
" faith and deep anxiety." The words strong and deep 
come into the sentence, and the things strength and 
depth go out of it. 

Forty- one councillors of state were presently appointed, 
and among those chosen, says M. Guizot, there were five 
superior magistrates, and twenty-eight country gentlemen 
and citizens : but these numbers, again mthout a note to 
say that he is not translating, the translator alters, one 
into three, the other into thirty. When these councillors 

CromwelL'\ al'thor's intention missed. II 

met, contiimes the historian, they were required to sign 
an engagement approving of all that had been done " in 
" the king's trial, and in the aboHtion of monarchy and 
" of the house of lords : " but the translator words and 
double words the simple expression, " in the king's trial, 
" in the overthrow of kingship, and in the abolition of 
" the house of lords." Twenty-two, proceeds M. Guizot, 
persisted " a le repousser : " but English idiom pushes 
away that spirited word, and tells us merely that they per- 
sisted " in refusing it." The substance of their reasons, 
adds M. Guizot, the tone of his mind colouring his ex- 
pression insensibly, was that they " refused to associate 
" themselves" with the past: but, masterly as is the hint 
so given of a personal stain, and of the dread of compli- 
city, the translator drearily obscures it into "■ refused to 
" give their sanction." Excited by the censure so im- 
pUed, resumes M. Guizot, the House nevertheless checked 
its own resentment (''on ne voulut pas faire eclater les 
" dissensions des republicains ") ; and here his temperate 
and subtle tone again directs attention to the weakness 
of the theoretical republicans, in the fact that they did 
not msh to publish abroad their dissensions. But the 
entire sense is lost by the translator, who again words 
and double words and smothers it in idiom. " To ori- 
" ginate dissensions among the republicans would, it 
*' was felt, be madness." There is already discord in the 
camp, suggests M. Guizot. Discord, suggests his trans- 
lator, had yet to begin, and these were not men mad 
enough to set it going. The translator may be right, but 
he is not translating M. Guizot. 

The historian still pursues his theme. " Les regicides 
" comprirent qu'ils seraient trop faibles s'ils restaient 
*' seuls : " but, that the translation might become " too 
" weak " indeed, the simple words " trop faibles " are 
multiplied into the idiomatic English of " not strong 
*' enough to maintain their position." The matter was 
accordingly arranged, says M. Guizot, " sans plus de 
" bruit." Hushed-up would be no bad idiom for that ; 
but, unfortimately, hushed-up would mean what M. Guizot 
means, and so, says the translator, it was arranged " with- 
" out further difficulty." Significantly M. Guizot adds, 
of the modified pledge offered by the dissidents, that with 


it " on se contenta : " wHcli, most insignificantly, the 
translator renders " it was accepted." 

These are small items of criticism, it will be said. But 
be it understood that the last seven arise out of a single 
paragraph, and that the last six are on the same page ; 
and let any one conceive what murder is done upon the 
soul of a book, 700 pages long, when a translator sits 
dowTi in this manner to the work of killing it by inches. 

We turn over, and on the first line of the next page 
read that the compromise described was " to a very great 
" extent " the work of Cromwell and Sir Henry Vane : 
" to a very great extent " being the translator's idiom for 
" surtout." Before we get to the middle of the page, we 
find a date set down as November, without any note of 
its having been written December in the text. On the 
first line of the next page. Vane's suggestion of an oath 
of fidelity having relation simply to the future, is spoken 
of as an idea of which Cromwell was most eager " to 
*' express his entire approval : " the translator so supply- 
ing his peculiar idiom for " a s'en contenter." Similarly 
we find, in the sentence following, that for " nul " the 
English idiom is "no one for a moment." Of the com- 
mittee of three who held the powers of the Admiralty, 
M. Guizot says that Vane " etait Tame : " and his trans- 
lator dilutes it into the idiom that Yane '' was the 
" chief." Blake then enters on the scene, by whom, 
according to M. Guizot, the glory of the Commonwealth 
at sea was hereafter " a faire ; " and this expression is 
rendered " to augment," that its spirit may be utterly 

"We promised to comment on the first dozen pages of 
this authorised English version of M. Guizot's Common- 
wealth and Cromwell, and if we redeem our promise we 
must discuss four more. Eather than do that, we will 
break our promise. We quote from both texts the be- 
ginning of page nine, the English water by the French 
wine ; and no reader who examines it will desire that we 
should splash on through the pages following. The pas- 
sage, feeble as it is, is far above the average ; for in it 
the sense of the text does absolutely survive what the 
translator overlays it with, though in what condition the 
reader will see. 

Cromwell S\ warning to foreign writers. IS 

**La chambre avait to^icM et "The house had revised and 

pourvu a tout; la legislation, la arranged every department of the 
diplomatie, la justice, la police, administration ; thelQcri^Xsdiou and 
les finances, I'armee, la flotte etai- diplomacy of the country, tJie courts 
ent dans ses mains. Pourparaitre 0/ justice, tlie police, the finances, 
aussi desinteressee qu'elle etait the army, and the fleet, were all 
active, elle admit les membres qui in its hands. To appear as dis- 
s'etaient separes du parti vain- interested as it was active, it per- 
queur, au moment de sa rupture mitted those members who had 
definitive avec le roi, k reprendre separated from the conquering 
leur place dans ses rangs, mais en party, at the moment of its defi- 
leur imposant xva. tel desaveu de nitive rupture ^\•ith the king, to re- 
leurs anciens votes que bien peu sume their seats in its midst ; but 
d'entre enxpurent s'y resoudre.'" it required from them at the same 

time such a disavowal of their 
former votes, that very few could 
persuade themselves to take advan* 
tage of this co7icession.'" 

Sucli is the translation which M. Guizot has authorised, 
and which the law now protects against any hetter that 
might replace it. The example should not he thrown 
away. It is an evil, hut ought not to he a necessary evil, 
of the protection given under international copyright, 
that if a hook he marred in the translation, it is marred 
past hope of mending. The new law is not less poHtic 
than it is just, for without it there can he no inducement 
sufficient to invite to such labour the employment of 
original talents and real learning. But if, through want 
of care in obtaining these, inapt or inferior talents are 
employed and protected, mischief beyond retrieval is 
done. Nor is it easy to make the proper choice. A man 
may be a very respectable writer who will turn out to be 
an execrable translator, though it would be next to im- 
possible that a good translator should not also be a writer 
of respectable powers. But the difficulty should be 
tlioroughly considered, and a scrupulous care exerted, be- 
fore foreign writers permit their works to pass finally out 
of their own keeping. What an engraver is to an artist, 
a translator should be to an author ; and the best masters 
in either craft have at all times been esteemed, by authors 
and painters of repute, as brother craftsmen. If pub- 
lishers are indisposed to the same view, the public should 
protect themselves. Copyright in translation will involve 
grave injury to them, if it lowers instead of raising the 
average of translating ability by lowering the prices paid 
for it. To give no more, under the new law, to the author 


and the translator, than under the old was given to the 
translator alone, is to mistake altogether the object of a 
change which was meant to increase the facilities for 
properly remunerating both, by protecting translations of 
a really high character from unequal rivalry with the in- 
different or worthless. We invite to the subject, there- 
fore, a more minute attention than it has hitherto been 
customary to give to it. A more exacting criticism of 
translation, as translation, may at least check the incapable 
with some fear of censure, and cheer on the able with 
some small hope of reasonable fame. 

The lights and shades of style indicate the bias of an 
author's mind. In describing their effacement from the 
English version of this History, we have found also means 
to indicate what, in M. Guizot's case, the bias is. What it 
is, it could hardly fail to be. It requires but the opening 
sentence of the volumes ' to reveal to us that the feelings of 
the writer are here more nearly touched than they had been 
by the former portion of his narrative. His account of 
the Eevolution down to the King's execution, published 
more than thirty years ago, was given in a style as calm 
as it was clear : but here, where only the men of the Re- 
public are before him, though he is still philosophical, and 
still to the utmost of his ability a righteous judge, a ripple 
before unseen appears upon the surface of his judgment ; 
and we cannot but be reminded of all that has filled up 
the interval since that first portion of his book was written. 
The statesman who has connected his own name in 

1 "J'ai raconte la chute d'une *' struments de ses grand desseins 

•' ancienne monarchie et la mort " sont pleins de contradiction et de 

** violente d'un roi digne de respect, *' mystere : il mele et unit en eux, 

** quoiqu'il ait mal et injustement *' dans des proportions profonde- 

" gouverne ses peuples. J'aimain- ** ment cachees, les qualites et les 

*' tenant ^ raconter les vains efforts *' defauts, les vert us et les vices, les 

"d'une assemblee rdvolutionnaire ** lumieres et les erreurs, les gran- 

•' pour fonder une republique, et.le " deurs et les faiblesses ; et apres 

•' gouverneraent toujours chance- ** avoir rempli leur temps de Feclat 

•* laut, bien que fort et glorieux, '* de leurs actions et de leur des- 

*' d'un despote r^volutionnaire, ad- ** tin^e, ils demeurent euxmemes 

" mirable par son hardi et judi- " obscurs au sein de leur gloire, 

" cieux genie, quoiqu'il ait attaque *' encenses et maudits tour a tour 

" etdetruit, dans son pays, d'abord " par le monde qui ne les connait 

** I'ordre legal, puis la liberte. Les " pas." 
* ' hommes que Dieu prend pour in- 

Cromzvell.'] early life of guizot. 15 

history with endeavours to preserve a king and a consti- 
tution, and who saw king and constitution swept away to 
make room for an ephemeral repubHc, holds fast never- 
theless by a constitutional monarchy as not merely the 
best form of government, but, so to speak, as his own 
cause, and regards a republic with some sense of personal 
antagonism. The open expression of this is as far as 
possible subdued ; but not the less is it discernible. 

Sixty-one years ago a high-spirited young lawyer died 
at Nimes on the scaffold, sentenced to death for his 
dislike of a republic by a court obedient to the French 
Republican Convention. That young man, twenty-seven 
years old when his life was taken, was the father of M. 
Guizot. The latter was only a boy of seven at the time, 
but he was old enough to receive into his soul an undy- 
ing recollection of the murder in the name of Hberty that 
made a widow of his mother. The decree which took 
away the father's life and confiscated his possessions, 
ordered also that his childi-en, — the boy just named, 
and another little son, — should be committed to the 
foundling hospital, and brought up in accordance with a 
revolutionary law. But their mother, a noble woman, 
whom her eldest-born, then become a statesman and 
historian of European fame, saw grieving after fifty years 
of widowhood with fresh tears for the husband of her 
youth, took them with the wreck of her fortune out of 
France, and dwelt with them for six years at Geneva, 
watching carefully their education. Father and mother 
had been pious Protestants, finn against the pressm-e of 
reHgious persecution ; and, open to all grave and noble 
influences, M. Guizot's boyhood at Geneva was full of the 
promise which his manhood more than fulfilled. By the 
reflective tone of his mind, by his skill in reasoning, by a 
surprising aptitude for the acquisition of languages, and 
by a taste for historical inquiry, even so early he dis- 
tinguished himself. Sent at the age of eighteen as a law 
student to Paris, his abilities were quickly recognised by 
men ready to turn them to account. His pen was soon 
brought into use ; and his literary talents as well as in- 
dustry were displayed in the publication by him, at the 
age of twenty-two, of his well known Dictionary of 
Sy}ionyms. He had begun at the same time the arduous 

16 A FRENCH statesman's CAREER. \Oliver 

enterprise of a translation of Gibbon, witb original notes ; 
and so prompt was the recognition of his manifest ability, 
that at the age of twenty-four he was made professor of 
modem history at the Faculty of Letters. 

Through all the troubles of France during the years 
that ensued, M. Guizot, known as a man of the future, 
steadily maintained his position. "Whatsoever he believed 
to be anarchy, he calmly but determinedly opposed. 
Standing between republican and despot in the days of 
Bonaparte and of Charles X, with a moral courage free 
from display of passion, he held firm to the lesson of his 
life which study had strengthened in him, that the quiet 
reign of a constitutional king, upon a system liberally 
conservative, is the condition of prosperity and peace for 
the French people, or for any people fairly civilised. 
Order, with Liberty, was his creed in those days ; as to 
the present it has remained his belief that Liberty must 
be protected by Order. One of his first political pam- 
phlets was upon Eepresentative Government ; another 
was upon the mode of conducting Government and Oppo- 
sition. One of the first historical inquiries on which he 
entered was a discovery for himself of the origin and 
causes of our great Eevolution. He published an account 
of it to the death of Charles I ; and, with a spirit and enter- 
prise which has yet found no parallel in England itself, 
he completed, in no less than twenty-six octavo volumes, 
a translated collection of memoirs and histories relating 
to it. As a writer, we should not omit to add, his first 
commanding success was won by his elaborate Lectures 
on the origin of Representative Government in Europe, 
delivered at the temporary cost of his chair when France 
sorely needed reliable and sound information on that 

At last came the revolution of 1830, and there was 
placed upon the French throne a ruler whose obvious 
interest it was, at once to resist all extremes of democratic 
passion and to establish a government that should in its 
nature be liberal not less than conservative : enough of 
the former to be safe, and of the latter to satisfy European 
statesmen. In such a course there was no man in France 
so fit to counsel the King and serve the country as M. 
Guizot. The student of history, so skilful and so dispas- 

Cromwell.'] cojsflicts with french republicans. 17 

sionate, became accordingly Minister of Interior to Louis 
Philij^pe. Subsequently be gave his earnest support, 
though out of office, to the Ministry of Casimir Perier ; 
and he afterwards held the Portfolio of Public Instruction 
for nearly five years, bet^Yeen 1832 and 1837. During 
the summer of 1840, he was Ambassador in England ; 
at the close of that year he formed the Ministry in which 
he took the charge of Foreign Affairs, but of which he 
was the virtual head ; and finally, on the death of Mar- 
shal Soult, in September 1847, he became its nominal as 
well as actual chief, and Prime Minister of France. The 
beginning of this career of office was employed in decisive 
suppression of all active revolutionary opposition to the 
new monarchy. The middle of it saw him the successful 
founder of a system of national education for his country- 
men, far better than anything of a similar kind even yet 
attempted in Great Britain. And it is quite possible 
that the close of it might have placed within his power 
the salvation of the French monarchy, if, in the critical 
hour, a failing king had not forsaken his counsels. The 
throne fell ; and the same republican wrath which had 
destroyed his father, again beat and surged around the 
monarchist statesman. But whatever his failures, in 
theory or in action, M. Guizot never failed in probity. 
He never flinched from the trial of his principles ; never 
feU from his oaths or his professions ; never in his public 
conduct abated what his secret conscience exacted. There 
have been many greater statesmen, but few so altogether 
free from moral stain. 

Yet in his own country, where republicanism has been 
identified with revolution, there has been no man, with 
of course one exception, against whom so much ill has 
been spoken by republicans ; and he had borne from 
them, for many of the last years of his life as a statesman, 
the incessant sting of calumny. In resuming at its close, 
therefore, the story of a short-lived repubHc, he found 
before him the moral of the creed which for sixty years 
had been his private and his pubhc enemy. Not for this 
reason, however, which his true scholar's spirit would 
disown, did he then, after the storm of his active life was 
over, return to the study of the revolution which earliest 
had engaged his attention ; but because, unlike that in 


progress and still undetermined in France, it was in itself 
complete, it admitted of a perfect scrutiny, and it offered 
the fairest prospect of historical instruction. The History 
of the Commonwealth and Cromivell is the second of the 
four parts into which he divides it (the third heing that of 
Richard Cromwell, of which by the favour of M. Guizot, 
the early portion is also before us) ; and remembering 
that the very pulse of its author's life beats in it, we 
may well be surprised to find its stroke so regular and 

Far from reviling our historical republicans, whose 
high-minded endeavours he has quite nobility enough to 
understand, M. Guizot points out that the experiment 
they made was not in their time associated with any of 
those ideas of mere revolt and lawlessness which have 
lately been connected with such attempts. Under 
honourable forms only, as in Italy, Switzerland, or the 
Netherlands, was republican government then known ; 
and the attempt to convert the English Monarchy into a 
Republic, was, to put his idea into plain words, such an 
experiment as decent men might put their hands to. In 
the eyes of continental nations it had also a religious 
aspect ; and though he believes it, as a republican move- 
ment, to have been a mistake, he not the less believes, 
that, but for the violence necessarily incident to the 
transition from a kingdom to a commonwealth, the scheme 
might have been a successful one. But, in his judgment, 
a republic founded upon revolution finds its works soon 
clogged by that property in its founders, which, calling 
itself and thinking itself republican zeal, is in reality 
nothing but revolutionary obstinacy. 

Thus, as might have been expected, M. Guizot is too 
accurate a thinker to condemn wholly as theory that 
scheme of government, in the formal establishment of 
which both England and France, each in its own manner 
and degree, have up to this time failed, but not a few of 
whose most practical and substantial results have never- 
theless been left to both countries. Every way worthy 
of notice, indeed, is the reflection with which he opens 
the third section of his labours, when, in the narrative 
of E/ichard CromweU and his troubles, following upon 

Cromivell.~\ worthiness of their design. 19 

that of Eichard's father and his triumphs, he is about to 
relate the career of the revived Long Parliament. A 
Bepuhlic, he argues, when it is, among any people, the na- 
tural and true result of its social state, of its ideas and of 
its manners, is a Government worthy of all S5rmpathy 
and respect. It may have its vices, theoretical and prac- 
tical; but it honours and serves humanity, which it 
stimulates to the healthy gathering up of its higher 
energies and moral forces, and can lift to a very lofty 
degree of dignity and virtue, of prosperity and glory. 
Not so with a Republic untimely and factitious, foreign 
to the national history and manners, introduced by the 
egotism of faction, and sustained by the pride that is 
begotten of it. He holds this to be a government de- 
testable in itself, because full of falsehood and violence ; 
and having also the deplorable consequence, that it dis- 
credits in the minds of nations the principles of political 
right and the guarantees of liberty, by the false applica- 
tion and tyrannical use they are put to, or by the hypo- 
critical violation they are made to suffer. Though hostile, 
therefore, to all crude attempts at the establishment of 
a Republic, no unfair measure is dealt out by the 
French statesman to our republican forefathers. That 
they should, after all, have failed principally because 
their hopes were pitched too high, is not a fact which 
such a man can dismiss with indifference, whatever his 
sense of the needs of practical statesmanship may be. 
He rather. Frenchman as he is, rejoices to show them to 
us with Mazarin hat in hand before them ; spurning the 
fair outside of civility with which the wily French-Italian 
would have approached them ; and finally bringing him 
to a frank submission, while the Queen Mother Henrietta, 
standing by his side, gnashes her teeth at his enforced 
recognition of '' these infamous traitors." 

In illustration of the kind of men whom the traitors 
sought out for employment, too, there stands a somewhat 
memorable record in their Council Book, which we can 
conceive appealing to M. Guizot with the same sort of 
interest it still possesses for Englishmen, notwithstanding 
his too manifest predilection for those powers only " which 
" are based upon right and sanctioned by time.'* It is 
the official notice of Sir Harry Yane's and Mr. Henry 



Marten's risit, one March evening in 1649, armed with 
the authority of the Council of State of which they were 
members, to " the lodging of Mr. John Milton, in a small 
" house in Holbom, which opens backwards into Lincoln's 
*' Inn Fields, to speak to Mr. Milton, to know. Whether 
" he will be employed as Secretary for the Foreign 
*' Languages ? and to report to the Council." One of 
the first declarations of that Council had been that they 
would neither write to other States, nor receive answers, 
but in the tongue which was common to all countries, and 
fittest to record great things, the subject of future history ; 
and hence the visit to the small house in Holborn. We 
may feel quite sure that M. Guizot would think none 
the worse of the Council for this little circumstance: 
though we cannot quite satisfy ourselves as to the autho- 
rity with which he describes the Lord Protector, in later 
days, eager to profit by Milton's genius and ascendancy, 
and continuing to employ the talents left at his disposal 
by the Government he displaced, but putting no faith in 
the wisdom of their wondrous possessor ; supplying him 
with funds to afi'ord liberal hospitaHty, at his house and 
table in Whitehall, to such foreign men of letters as came 
to visit England, but, while chief of the State, admitting 
him into no personal intimacy, and studiously withhold- 
ing from him all public influence. Such may have been 
the relations of Milton and Cromwell; but we do not 
know the authority on which the statement rests, and 
what we do know of the circumstances attending the 
interference for the Yaudois would lead us to entertain 
very considerable doubts of it. 

Milton is M. Guizot's ideal of the highest of the repub- 
lican statesmen, grand but unpractical. He depicts him 
revelhng in a dream of liberty, and taking pleasure as a 
poet in sublime thoughts and majestic words, without 
inquiring whether every- day life held within it any answer 
to such aspirations. In his case, according to M. Guizot, 
abstract reasoning so far misguided a noble heart,' a 
passionate and dreamy intellect, as to render his wisdom 
of less service than it miorht have been in the actual 

1 " Un noble coeur," says M. Guizot. "A stern hat noble heart, 
says his translator. 

Cromwell.'] glory of the commonwealth. 21 

conduct of affairs. And as with him, so in less degree 
with the other statesmen of the Commonwealth — scho- 
lastic, theoretical repubKcans ; in their way, too, in regard 
to much they took in hand, mere high-minded dreamers ; 
and possessed, according to a foolish homely phrase, of 
every sense but common sense. Yet it is the belief of 
M. Gfuizot, that with a dignified reserve and an intelli- 
gent prudence these adventurous statesmen entered upon, 
and for the most part discharged, their work. The 
country coldly supported them, indeed, and abroad they 
were detested ; nevertheless, as they well knew, they 
were not menaced, and they had otherwise much upon 
their side. They included men of spotless integrity, such 
as Sydney, Ludlow, Bradshaw, Marten, Hutchinson, and 
Harrington ; they could boast of men of the highest ad- 
ministrative ability, such as Henry Yane ; they had in 
their service Eobert Blake, a man of the noblest stuff of 
which English heroism is made ; they were impassioned 
on behalf of their cause ; and they were swayed through- 
out by no meaner or less exalted interest than that of 
seeing it triumph. The cause itself, too, though *' peu 
" sensee et antipathique au pays," was noble and moral ; 
for the principles presiding over it were a faith in truth, 
and an affectionate esteem for humanity, respect for its 
rights, and the desire for its free and glorious develop- 
ment. Nor did they fail to accompKsh, in the main 
successfully, the task intrusted to them. They had de- 
clared upon assuming power that they would vindicate 
their country's ancient right to the sovereignty of the 
seas, and they did not rest till it was done. They had 
virtually subdued the Dutch, had humbled the Portuguese 
and the Danes, and, hated as they were upon the Con- 
tinent, on all the other European States they had imposed 
peace, at the period of their fall. Before power was wrested 
from them, they had used it to correct not a little of the 
injustice and inequality which remained to be redressed 
in the domestic administration, and they had shown 
singular and indisputable financial ability. But the his- 
torian thinks it was also incident to their very position 
that many errors should be committed, and that a too 
prolonged enjoyment of power in the midst of chaos 
should prove disastrous to some among themselves. And 


he shows, from the secret correspondence of the agents 
of Mazarin, what a number of people there were in the 
City who resembled a certain respectable merchant and 
news-writer, Mr. Morrell, eager for any sort of change, 
tired of a multiplicity of masters, and ready to hope better 
things from one than from a hundred. We want greater 
secrecy, wrote the thrifty Mr. Morrell, more promptitude, 
less speechifying, more work. In a word, three great 
causes were surely and steadily conspiring to the fall 
of the republic. There was matter both corrupt and 
obstructive in its lower divisions ; there was a nation, 
reverent of law, heavily and surely swaying back to 
monarchy ; and, worse than all, the very heart of the 
republican ranks held within it a leader in their army, 
a man mighty in battle, the main support of the Com- 
monwealth itself, born with an instinct of command, born 
with a genius for government, eminently practical, and 
utterly unscrupulous. That is M. Guizot's Cromwell. 

A man who had the pitiless sagacity to see the worth 
of an enemy only to recognise the necessity of at once 
putting him out of the way, he was able not less, in the 
judgment of the French historian, to conceal effectually 
his own pride and pretensions, and carry exposed upon 
his sleeve only an irresistible semblance of self-denial. 
" No great man," exclaims M. Guizot, " ever carried the 
** hypocrisy of modesty so far as Cromwell, or so easily 
" subordinated his vanity to his ambition." So little also 
can M. Guizot discover of system in his mind, so little 
does he find him under the influence of preconceived 
ideas of any kind, that he believes him to have had no 
really fixed principles at all on questions civil or religious. 
But, though he was not a philosopher, and did not act 
in obedience to systematic and premeditated views, he 
was guided by the superior instinct and practical good 
sense of a man destined by the hand of God to govern ; 
and he possessed, above all, the consummate secret of 
the governing art which consists in a just appreciation of 
what will be sufiicient in every given circumstance, and 
in resting satisfied with that. He had, moreover, an 
unerring instinct of the drift of the people by which 
he brought them to his side ; and the historian thinks 
it an extreme proof of the relations he maintained, and 

Cromwell.'] the protector and the cardinal. 23 

the hopes he inspired, among persons of all ranks and 
creeds, that he should have been able to suggest himself 
as their best resource, not simply to sectaries of all sorts, 
— Unitarians, Jews, Muggletonians, and Freethinkers, 
but even to Roman Catholics and Episcopalians. Giving 
credit to the earliest reports which represent him as by 
councils and conversations feeling his way towards the 
dignity of King, it was yet, according to M. Guizot, his 
rare faculty throughout to understand the ne quid nimis 
in the art of government ; and acting upon it, bitter as 
the trial was, he finally denied himself the Crown. He 
possessed, says the historian, the two qualities that make 
men great. He was sensible, and he was bold ; indomitable 
in his hopes, yet never the victim of illusion. 

What is thus said of the absence of system in Crom- 
well's ambition, let us remark, finds such striking illus- 
tration in a passage of the Cardinal de Retz's Memoirs, 
that we are surprised it should have escaped M. Guizot. 
Having occasion to quote the description, from that very 
clever book, of Yane's secret mission from Cromwell and 
the Council of State immediately after the victory of 
Worcester, when the Cardinal found the envoy a man of 
such *' surprising capacity," ' the historian should not have 
laid down the volume, we think, without reproducing 
from a somewhat later page one of the shrewdest of all 
its hints for statesmen, embodied in the following memo- 
rable dialogue. The Cardinal is talking, during Crom- 
well's protectorate, with the First President of the Parlia- 
ment of Paris, M. de Bellievre. " I understand you," 
says the President at a particular point of their argument, 
" and I stop you at the same time to tell you what I have 
" learnt from Cromwell." (M. de Bellievre, interposes 
the Cardinal, had seen and known him in England.) 
" He said to me one day, that One never mounted so high 
" as ivhen one did not know ichere one was going.'' AYhere- 
upon says the Cardinal to the President, *' You know 
" that I have a horror of Cromwell ; but, however great 

1 An admission, we may observe, down to the last and best edition 

of -whicli the French editors have of MM. Michard and Foujoiilat, 

hitherto done their best to deprive which restores the suppressed pas- 

the great English republican by in- sages, and from which we quote), 

variably printing his name (even as Vairc^ Vere, or Vainc. 


" a man tliey may think him, I add to this horror, con- 
" tempt ; for if that be his opinion, he seems to me to be 
" a fooL" The Cardinal proceeds to tell ns that he 
reports this dialogue, which is nothing in itself, to make 
us see the importance of never speaking of people who 
are in great posts. For Monsieur the President, return- 
ing to his cabinet where there were several people, 
repeated the remark without reflection, as a proof of the 
injustice which was done their friend the Cardinal when 
it was said that his ambition was without measure and 
without bounds. All which was straightway carried off 
to my Lord Protector of England, who remembered it 
with bitterness ; and took occasion not long after to say 
to M. de Bordeaux, the Ambassador of France at his 
Court, / know only one man in the world who despises me, 
and that is Cardinal de Retz. " This opinion," adds the 
penitent Cardinal, " had very nearly cost me dear.'' 

The truth is, that Cromwell's remark by no means 
deserved the contemptuous comment of De Eetz. It is 
not at all so necessary, as the Cardinal appears to think, 
that a man who is about to mount high should have 
systematically arranged beforehand to what exact height 
he shall mount. It may be true, that in all ambitious 
men there will necessarily be some calculation, and 
something of a preconceived plan ; but it may be fairly 
doubted whether to constitute such a man of the first 
order, there must not also be a yet larger amount of 
passion to outstrip and go beyond the calculation. In 
short, to whatever extent particular plans and arrange- 
ments may contribute intermediately to success, it must 
ever be a condition of the highest success not to be finally 
bound by them. Between the fixity of all men's designs 
and the uncertainty of their destiny, there is an interval 
so large and vague, that it is there the highest order of 
genius will probably most often find its occasions and 
means, its power and opportunity ; and we think it very 
certain that wherever the highest has been reached to 
which it was possible to attain, the courage to undergo 
a risk must at least have been as great as the patience 
to profit by a plan. We go farther in Cromwell's case, 
for we are very certain he began with no plan at all, but a 
zeal for what he honestly believed to be Gfod's truth, and 

Cromwell,'] early life of oliver. 25 

for the establishment of a government that should he 
according to God's will. 

Who that is at all acquainted with his entire history- 
will believe, that when the final summons of array reached 
him, he knew, as he buckled on his sword, whither he 
was going ? He had lived for nearly forty years the 
useful unassuming life from which parliamentary duties 
first called him away, cultivating his native acres in the 
Eastern fens, tilling the earth, reading his Bible, assist- 
ing persecuted preachers, and himself kneeling daily with 
his servants around him in exhortation and prayer. 
When he went up with Hampden to take his seat in the 
Long Parliament, he was by birth a gentleman, as he 
described himself ten years later to the first parliament 
of the Protectorate, Hving at no great height, nor yet in 
obscurity. He had not been without the means, that is, 
of challenging distinction, if such had been his wish. 
He had been dragged before the Privy Council ' without 
claiming the honours of a martyr, and he had led an agita- 
tion against the great lords of his county without aspiring 
to the rewards of a hero. In resisting a particular grie- 
vance, he had made himself the most popular and powerful 
man in all that district of the fens ; but, satisfied when 
the work was done, he had sought no further advantage 
from the popularity and power acquired in doing it. 
There is nothing so striking, in connection with Cromwell's 
history, as the steady uniformity of the picture it presents, 
of a man doing his duty in the station and offices of life to 
which his duty has called him. JSTo new discovery we have 
made, none that we have the chance of making, is likely 
to disturb or unsettle that picture by a single adverse 
trait. As he appears to us everywhere else, when honestly 
reported, we found him lately when the blotted page of 
D'Ewes revealed its secrets to us. There is never any 
fussy activity about him, and no superfluous energy. We 
see always the least possible of himself. There is nothing 
over- anxious or restless, or that interferes for an instant 
with the sole straightforward purpose of arriving in the 

1 This curious and hitherto un- that most intelligent and able of 

known incident in his career was antiquaries, Mr. John Bruce, and by 

lately discovered in a search among him communicated to the Athenceum 

the registers of the Privy Council by of the 13th of October, 1855. 


shortest and most effectual manner at tlie point he desires 
to reach. Certainly this, too, is uniformly the character of 
his early exploits in the war. All that appears essential 
to him is that he must actually do the work he has in 
hand, and to this he is bent exclusively. When, in con- 
versation with his cousin Hampden at the close of the first 
doubtful year of the conflict, he threw out the remark which 
contained the germ of all his subsequent victories, who will 
believe that his thoughts were travelling beyond the duty 
and necessity of the hour ? His experience in the field 
had taught him why it was the royalists gained upon 
their adversaries in battle, and he at once declared that 
it would not do to go on enlisting " poor tapsters and 
" town- apprentice people " against well-born cavaliers ; 
but that, to cope with men of honour, men of religion 
must be enrolled. When he expressed this design to 
Hampden, it might be said that, on the instant, the whole 
issue of the war was determined ; but is it necessary to 
suppose him carrying his own thoughts so far ? When 
ho proceeded to organise his God-fearing regiment of 
Ironsides, is it conceivable that he cared, or was troubled 
to anticipate, to what a destiny they might bear himself ? 
Clarendon has made it a reproach against him, that on 
one occasion he said he could tell what he would itot 
have, but not what he would have ; but was not this only 
another expression of the thought, that he had no concern 
but the duty of the hour, no wish but to do it in the hour, 
and that he knew not and cared not whither it might 
lead him ? 

As time went on, indeed, as he commanded armies, 
won battles, and saw himself indisputably the first soldier 
and captain in the war, to direct and govern men became 
clearly as much a part of his no longer avoidable duty, as 
any commonest avocation that had occupied him on his 
Ely farm. With this, too, let it also be admitted, there 
must of course have opened upon him that wider range of 
worldly opportunities to which, whether they shape them- 
selves to ambition, or any other inclination of the mind, it 
is so easy to give the name, or to make available under 
the sanction, of duty itself. Doubtless to many such 
temptations Cromwell yielded. In his religious creed he 
is said (we must confess on what seems to us very doubt- 

Cromwell,'] "our chief of men." %t 

ful authority) to have held the somewhat dangerous 
doctrine, that having once heen in a state of grace it was 
not possible to fall from it ; and from time to time, if 
this were so, it must insensibly have relaxed to him even 
the restraints of religion itself. But that there was any 
conscious hypocrisy in his language, or any settled scheme 
of mere ambition in his conduct, we find it difiicult to 
believe. Higher and higher as he was mounting, still to 
the last he might have asked himself — Whither ? When, 
at the close of the war, he appears heaped with all the 
favours a grateful people and parliament could bestow, 
there is yet not one which had not fallen to him naturally, 
or that it would not have been monstrous as well as 
foolish to deny to him. Every step of the ascent had 
been solidly and laboriously won ; he stood upon it as of 
right ; and surely no man ever rose so high with less of 
what we must call usurpation. In the honours paid to 
him, in the very trappings of state thrown over him, when 
he left London upon his last campaign and returned with 
the final victory, there was not a man in the popular 
ranks, of however rigid and ascetic public virtue, who 
might not feel that he was also himself participating as 
in a gain and glory of his own. When the Lord General 
passed out of the city in his coach, drawn by six gallant 
Flanders mares, whitish gray, and " with colonels for 
*' his life guard such as the world might not parallel," — 
it may be very doubtful if less would have satisfied the 
most exacting republican, whose claims and whose power 
he then and there represented. When he returned in a 
more than regal triumph, receiving homage from the 
populace, halting to hawk with the gentry, and present- 
ing horses and prisoners to the parliamentary delegates 
appointed to give him welcome, — it was yet but the 
glory of their common country which all men were con- 
tent to see reflected, in the ceremony and the pomp which 
surrounded him. 

Should it be matter of blame, then, that still he rose to 
the occasion which called him, and that even this position 
did not take him unawares ? As he farmed at Ely and 
St. Ives, as he fought at Marston Moor and Naseby, so 
now he fell into his allotted place as Milton's " chief of 
'' men." Such is the sum of reproach with any fairness 


up to this date to be imputed to him. " This man will 
" be King of England yet," said the Eev. Mr. Peters 
inwardly to himself, as he observed at the time, in his 
air and manner, an indescribable kind of exaltation. Sir 
Philip Warwick afterwards observed it too ; and, being 
entirely at a loss to reconcile so " great and majestic a 
" deportment and comely presence " with what he re- 
membered of his very ill-made apparel, and not very 
clean or sufficient linen, when he first heard him speak in 
the parliament-house twelve years before, is much disposed 
to attribute the change to the fact of his having mean- 
while " had a better tailor and more converse among 
" good company." The same difficulty occurs even to 
Clarendon, who more shrewdly dismisses it with the re- 
mark, that " his parts seemed to be raised, as if he had 
" concealed his faculties till he had occasion to use them." 
But we shall not ourselves have any difficulty at all, if 
we simply believe, of such a man, that only the occasion 
for use would ever tempt him to the assumption or dis- 
play. A readiness for the duty of the hour, and no rest- 
lessness beyond it, would seem to be the lesson of Crom- 
well's life, whatever part of it we examine ; and if we 
think the forcible dissolution of the Long ParHament an 
interruption to the temperate wisdom which generally 
guided him (and here, we must distinctly state, we difier 
strongly from Mr. Carlyle), it is because we feel that with- 
out it the supreme power must nevertheless have been 
his, unattended by the difficulties in which the conse- 
quences of that act involved him. At the very last, he 
said himself, he was doubtful about doing it ; but another 
and stronger impulse got the mastery over him. " When 
" I went there," he told his council of officers, " I did 
" not think to have done this. But perceiving the spirit 
" of God so strong upon me, I would not consult ilesh 
" and blood." And so we arrive again at what he told 
Monsieur the President de Bellievre, that One never 
mounts so high as when one does not know ivhere one is 

But M. Guizot would attach little importance to that 
stronger impulse which the Lord General there professed 
to have over-ruled him. We do not know that anything 
has impressed us more throughout his book than its 

Cromwell. 1 religious element in revolution. 29 

extremely partial and imperfect recognition of the reli- 
gious element, which formed so large a portion not merely 
of Cromwell himself, but of the entire English Eevolution. 
Doubtless it arises from the fact that this element, so 
necessary in the study of it, lies too far away from those 
evils which dwell insensibly and most strongly upon the 
historian's mind, and from which his study of these great 
events in our history had deHberately or unconsciously 
arisen. He is even careful to hint his belief, more than 
once, that there were in those days more infidels in 
England than we commonly suppose. It is curious to 
contrast his view in this respect with that of another 
French writer, M. de Lamartine, who, regarding Crom- 
well from the thick of French republicanism, has very 
partially and confusedly (but as he believes wholly) ac- 
cepted Mr. Carlyle's interpretation, and informs his 
countrymen that Cromwell was a fanatic. M. Guizot, 
himself a man of calm unostentatious piety, and not 
unfrequently reminding his readers that a Divine Provi- 
dence is ordering and disposing the affairs of States, yet 
cannot see in Cromwell either fanatic or chosen man of 
God. In no part of his history of Oliver do we find any 
swerving from this view, and subsequent reflection appears 
only to have confirmed him in it. In the whole of his 
account of Richard CromweU there is no more striking 
passage than that in which, describing the respective 
positions occupied by the followers of Oliver and the ad- 
vocates of the Republic, he again expresses forcibly the 
distinction between the purely worldly character of the 
Protectorate and the Divine purpose it was called to ful- 
fil. The Cromwellians under Richard, he says, rather 
by experience and political instinct than by any principle 
clearly comprehended or defined, would forcibly have 
imposed upon the people the second Protectorate, on the 
ground that they did not hold the people to be itself 
sufficient to constitute the entire Government, or to possess 
the right to unmake and reconstruct it at its pleasure. In 
their opinion the Government requu-ed, for the main- 
tenance and good order of societ}^, some base independently 
subsistent, recognised by the people, but anterior, and in 
a certain degree superior, to its shifting will. Originally 
conquest, afterwards the hereditary principle in monarchy, 


and tlie preponderance of great landowners, liad created 
in the English. Government such power, independent in 
itself, immovable in right, and indispensable to society. 
By the course of things, however, the territorial proprie- 
torship had in part changed hands, and, by its own faults, 
the hereditary principle of monarchy had succumbed. 
But God then raised up Oliver, and gave him the power 
with the victory. Conqueror and actual master, sur- 
rounded by his comrades in war, and treating with a 
House elected by the people, he had been able to found, 
for his successor as for himself, the Protectorate and its 
Constitution ; and thus was provided that anterior and 
independent power, born of events, not of the people's 
will, and which the people should be held as little able 
to destroy according to its fancy, as it had been able of 
its motion to create. This great fact, therefore, accom- 
plished upon the ruins of the ancient monarchy, and in 
the name of necessity, by the genius of a great man sus- 
tained by God, it became the duty of all men to recognise 
and accept ; and, from the uniform tone of M. Guizot's 
argument, it is manifest that he would himself so have 
accepted it, though he sees that it carried with it also the 
seeds of failure inseparable from its revolutionary origin. 
How otherwise, he reasons, could it be ? The weak 
purpose of Richard being substituted for his father's iron 
will, every party again became loud in the assertion of his 
own particular theory ; " accomplices became rivals ; " 
and soon, in the stormy sea of faction, the good ship of 
the Republic drifted an utter wreck. Then were seen, 
according to the historian, the faults of both divisions, of 
the pure republicans and of the adherents of Cromwell, 
revenging themselves upon their authors. For, what 
more easy than the way at last appeared to be, to a firm 
establishment of Richard Cromwell's government? What- 
ever his infirmities of character, he was disliked by none. 
Golden opinions were expressed of him by all sorts of 
people ; and the whole private interest of the members of 
his first Parliament lay in the assurance of his power, 
and with that also of their own prosperity. His Govern- 
ment had no design and no desire of tyranny ; Richard 
himself was naturally moderate, patient, equitable ; and 
his counsellors, like himself, demanded nothing better 

Cromwell.~\ ideal of his protectorate. »3l 

than to govern in concert with the Parliament, and ac- 
cording to the laws. What, then, so natural or so 
reasonable, as for all men who had not vowed their 
hearts to the old royal line or to the pure republic, to 
accommodate themselves to the regime established, and to 
live, by common consent, tranquil and safe under the new 
Protector ? But it was not to be. Though their empire 
had vanished, their obstinacy remained unenlightened and 
unsubdued. Decried as visionaries, they retorted by ac- 
cusing their country of ingratitude, and battled vainly 
against the successive defeats which they knew not that 
the hand of God was inflicting. But though they could 
not build they could destroy, and so the second Protec- 
torate passed away. 

We have thus endeavoured to exhibit the process of 
reasoning by which M. Guizot has arrived at his judgment 
of the two Protectorates. We by this means not un- 
fairly show, at the same time, the measure and degree to 
which he has been able to exclude, from the consideration 
of both, that particular element in Cromwell's idea of 
Government which led him, in the re-constitution of the 
State with a view to its bequest to his successor, to be indif- 
ferent whether it was republican or monarchical in its 
form, provided only that, above all things, it was godly 
in its spirit. Yet a sound and true perception in this 
respect might have led the historian to more just con- 
clusions as to opinions held generally by Cromwell, in 
regard not only to his system of rule during life, but to the 
succession he desired to leave after him. Upon a close ex- 
amination it would be found, we suspect, that Cromwell's 
true ideal was among the Jewish forms of government 
disclosed by the Sacred Book, even such as showed, in the 
midst of the petty kings of Moab and Edom, the free people 
of Israel, without a king, living majestically. The grand 
old Hebrew Judges would be perhaps his nearest model. 
But his historian will not recognise anything of this. M. 
Guizot thinks his mind was great, because it was just, 
perspicacious, and thoroughly practical ; but of this great- 
ness he does not find that religion formed an essential 
part, or contributed to it in any material way. He avoids, 
indeed, all common-place abuse. He knows that in 
Cromwell's day the open use of scriptural language wat 


no more synonymous with cant, than republicanism with 
discord ; but in both cases he appears to think that the 
one had a tendency to beget the other, and he accepts 
Cromwell's reported comment to Waller on a dialogue 
with one of the saints ('* we must talk to these men in 
" their own way "), as a fair hint of the value of his piety. 
It was no more than one portion, and not the chief, of 
his state craft. Even the rapt and exalted fervour of his 
address to what we may call the assembled saiuts in the 
Barebones Parliament, M. Guizot attributes to those 
instincts on the part of a profound genius which mark his 
anxiety to derive, as though immediately from God, the 
pretended supreme power which he had himself esta- 
blished, and the inherent infirmity of which he already 
perceived. We certainly cannot but regard as extremely 
remarkable the grave indifference with which the French 
historian is thus able to set aside, as only one of many 
means towards a worldly end, the fervent vein of scrip- 
tural thought and feeling which runs not alone through 
every deliberate work of Cromwell's, but tinges also his 
every Hghtest act, and, in his private as in his public 
utterances, is that which still makes most impressive 
appeal to all who would investigate his character. 

For, this we hold to have been finally established by 
Mr. Carlyle, and to constitute the peculiar value of his 
labours in connection with the subject. To collect and 
arrange in chronological succession, and with elucidatory 
comment, every authentic letter and speech left by 
Cromwell, was to subject him to a test from which false- 
hood could hardly escape; and the result has been to 
show, we think conclusively and beyond further dispute, 
that through all these speeches and letters one mind runs 
consistently. Whatever a man's former prepossessions 
may have been, he cannot accompany the utterer of these 
speeches, the writer of these letters, from their first page 
to the last, travelling with him from his grazing lands at 
St. Ives up to his Protector's throne ; watching him in 
the tenderest intercourse with those dearest to him ; 
observing him in affairs of state or in the ordinary 
business of the world, in offices of friendship or in con- 
ference with sovereigns and senates ; listening to him as 
he comforts a persecuted preacher, or threatens a perse- 

Cromwell.'] peoofs of a profound sincerity. 33 

cuting prince ; and remain at last with any other con- 
viction than that in all conditions, and on every occasion, 
Cromwell's tone is substantially the same, and that in 
the passionate fervour of his religious feeling, under its 
different and varying modifications, the true secret of his 
life must be sought, and will be found. Everywhere 
recognisable is the sense, deeply interpenetrated with his 
nature and life, of spiritual dangers, of temporal vicissi- 
tudes, and of never-ceasing responsibility to the Eternal. 
" Ever in his Great Taskmaster's eye." Unless you can 
believe that you have an actor continually before you, 
you must believe that this man did unquestionably 
recognise in his Bible the authentic voice of God; 
and had an irremovable persuasion that according as, 
from that sacred source, he learned the divine law 
here and did it, or neglected to learn and to do it, infinite 
blessedness or infinite misery hereafter awaited him for 

It is also clear to us from the letters, with only such 
reservation as we have already intimated, and after the 
large allowance to be made in every case for human 
passion and frailty, that Cromwell was, to all practical 
intents, as far removed on the one hand from fanaticism, 
as, on the other, from hypocrisy. It is certainly not 
necessary that we should accept it as proof of fanaticism, 
that, on the day before setting out to the war with Scot- 
land, he enlarged to Ludlow upon the great providences 
of God then abroad upon the earth, and in particular 
talked to him for almost an hour upon the hundred and 
tenth psalm. We have but to remember it as the psalm 
in which God's promise was given to make his enemies 
his footstool, to make his people willing, and to strike 
through kings in the day of his wrath, — to understand 
why Cromwell so recalled it on the eve of his last entrance 
into battle. It is as little necessary that we should accept, 
as proof of hypocrisy, the proof M. Guizot offers of his 
rejecting, and even ridiculing, the report set about by the 
fanatical officers after the dissolution of the Parliament, 
to the effect that he had undergone special and superna- 
tural revelations. " The reports spread about the Lord 
" General," writes M. de Bordeaux to M. deBrienne, are 
" not true. He does not affect any special communication 


*' with the Holy Spirit, and he is not so weak as to he 
*' caught hy flattery. I know that the Portuguese am- 
" hassador having complimented him on this change, 
" he made a jest of it." But the French ambassador 
does not omit to accompany his statement with a careful 
tribute to the Lord GeneraFs zeal and great piety. Nor 
do we think M. Guizot justified in the belief he appears ' 
to entertain, that CromwelFs toleration of differences in 
religion proceeded from the merely politic spirit, and was 
due only to his wisdom as a ruler of men. To his pro- 
found knowledge of the art of government may indeed be 
referred such projects as were started in the Protectorate, 
— for a Synod to bring the different sects into peaceful 
agreement, for ensuring a complete legal toleration to the 
Jews, and for receiving in England even a bishop of the 
Church of Pome to preside over the religious communion 
of the Catholics. But, from the depth of true piety in 
his own soul, must have proceeded that larger personal 
charity, which was so ready, with listening ear and help- 
ing hand, for any form of honest belief that claimed from 
him sympathy and protection. Let any one read his 
noble correspondence with the governor of Edinburgh 
Castle, when, having defeated the army of the Covenant 
in battle, he proceeded in argument to overthrow its 
preachers, — and entertain any further doubt of this if he 
can. Those are the incomparable letters in which he 
reasoned out a perfect scheme of sublime toleration ; in 
which he vindicated the execution of Charles Stuart as 
an act which Christians in after times would mention 
with honour, " and all tyrants in the world look at with 
'^ fear ; " in which he warned the Presbytery that their 
platform was too narrow for them to expect " the great 
*' God to come down " to such minds and thoughts ; in 
which he told them that he had not himself so learned 
Christ as to look at ministers as the lords over, instead 
of helpers of, God's people; and in which he desired 
them specially to point out to him the warrant they had 
in Scripture for believing that to preach was their function 
exclusively. " Your pretended fear lest error should 
" step in, is like the man who would keep all the wine 
" out of the country lest men should be drunk. It will 
" be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a 

Cromwell. ~\ scene in ely cathedral. 85 

" man of Ms natural liberty upon a supposition lie may 
*' abuse it. When be doth abuse it, judge." And tben, 
within some six months or so, Edinburgh having mean- 
while surrendered, and the Presbytery, recovered from 
its sulks, having accepted permission fr'om him again to 
open its pulpits, you see this same Cromwell respectfully 
. attending their services and sermons, and taking no other 
notice of the latter being specially directed against him- 
self and his fellow "sectaries,'' than to desire friendly 
discourse with the ministers who had so railed against 
them, to the end that, if possible, misunderstandings 
might be taken away. 

Neither had Cromwell, before he evinced this spirit, 
waited until authority fell to him as Lord General, at 
which time, in M. Guizot's view, considerations altogether 
politic and worldly began largely to operate with him. 
There is a very remarkable letter decisive as to this, 
which the Gentleman^ s Magazine first published three- 
quarters of a century ago, but which Mr. Carlyle has been 
able both to confirm as authentic and to adjust to the 
right place in his Hfe, — the year after the battle of Naseby. 
Not long before the date of it, he had entered Ely cathe- 
dral while the Reverend Mr. Hitch was " performing " 
the choir service ; and, with a " leave off your fooling , and 
" come dotcn, sir/' had turned the reverend gentleman 
sheer out of the place, intoning, singing, and all. But 
this was because Sir. Hitch had become a nuisance to a 
godly neighbourhood, and had treated with dehberate 
disregard a previous warning of OHver's to the very 
plain and legible effect, that, " lest the soldiers should in 
" any tumultuous or disorderly way attempt the reform a- 
" tion of the cathedral church, I require you to forbear 
" altogether your choir service, so un edifying and offen- 
" sive ; and this, as you shall answer it, if any disorder 
" should arise thereupon." And notwithstanding the 
prompt procedure by which he kept his word in this 
case, he shows himself, in the letter we have named and 
are now about to quote, not less ready to protect any 
honest people differing completely from himself in regard 
to choir or other services, provided always they so exer- 
cised their unedifying faith as not to be offensive to 
others. He intercedes with a Royalist gentleman, in the 

D 2 


adjoining (Norfolk) county, for liberty of conscience to 
certain of his tenants. " And,'^ lie writes, "however the 
" world interprets it, I am not ashamed to solicit for such 
" as are anywhere under pressure of this kind ; doing 
" even as I Avould be done by. Sir, this is a quarrelsome 
" age, and the anger seems to me to be the worse, where 
" the ground is difference of opinion ; which to cure, to 
" hurt men in their names, persons, or estates, will not be 
" found an apt remedy.'* Over and over again he insists 
and enlarges on these views. The very day after the 
fight at Naseby he had repeated them, reminding the 
Parliament of the honest men who had served it faithfully 
in that fight, and beseeching it, in the name of God, not 
to discourage them. " He that ventures his life for the 
" liberty of his country, I wish he trust God for the 
" liberty of his conscience, and you for the liberty he 
" fights for." He started life with these thoughts, and 
they remained with him to its close. Over and over 
again he used the noble language which was nearly the 
last he addressed to the last parliament that assembled 
in his name. He would have freedom for the spirits and 
souls of men, he said, because the spirits of men are the 
men. The mind was the man. If that were kept pure 
and free, the man signified somewhat ; but if not, he would 
fain see what difference there was betwixt a man and a 
beast. Nay, he had only some activity to do some 
more mischief. Upon these principles he would have 
established, and connected inseparably, Government and 
vThe religion which so teaches us our duty to others is 
not very likely to fail us in regard to ourselves. Watch 
Cromwell in any great crisis of his life, and judge whether 
the faith he held could have rested on any doubtful or 
insecure foundation. Take him at the moment of his 
greatest triumph, or in the hour of his darkest peril, and 
observe whether the one so unduly elates or the other so 
unworthily depresses him, as to cause him to lose the sense 
either of his own weakness or of his Creator's power, 
either of the littleness of time or of the greatness of eter- 
''li^y.-., I^ the very majesty of his reception after the 
Worcester battle, "he would seldom mention anything 
** of himself," says Whitelocke, describing their meeting 

CromwelLj the pillar of fihe. 87 

at Aylesbury; " mentioned others only; and gave, as was 
" due, the glory of tlie action unto God." In his last 
extremity at Dunbar, when Lesley, with an army of 
double his numbers, flushed with "sdctory, had so hemmed 
him in with his sick, star^^ng, and dispiiited troops, as 
they retreated and were falling back upon their ships, 
that, to use his own expression, " almost a miracle " was 
needed to save them, there is, in the tone of the letter he 
sent to Haselrig on the Newcastle border, such a quiet 
and composed disregard of himself, such a care only for 
the safety of the cause, such a calm and sustained reliance 
upon God, as we doubt if the annals of heroism can else- 
where parallel. "Whatever becomes of us," he wrote, 
" it will be well for you to get what forces you can 
" together; and the South to help what they can. If 
" your forces had been in readiness to have fallen upon 
" the back of Copperspath, it might have occasioned sup- 
" plies to have come to us. But the only wise God knows 
*' what is best. All shall work for good. Our spirits 
" are comfortable, praised be the Lord ; though our 
" present condition be as it is. Let Henry Vane know 
" what I write. I icould not make it public, lest danger 
" should accrue thereby J* 

Whatever else might desert this man, hope and faith 
never did. There was o;ie who stood afterwards by his 
death- bed, while a worse storm shook the heavens than 
even that which had swept along the heights of Dunbar, 
and who recalled these days in testimony of the strong 
man he had been. " In the dark perils of war, in the 
'* high places of the field, hope shone in him like a pillar 
" of fire, when it had gone out in all the others." Nor 
in the high places only, but in the solitude or service of 
his chamber, he impressed in like manner all who had 
intercourse with him. It was ever they who stood nearest 
to him who had reason to admire him most ; and to the 
eyes of his very valets and chamber-grooms, the heroic 
shone out of Cromwell. It is from one who held such 
office in his household we have a picture of him handed 
down to us which Vandyke or Velasquez might have 
painted. A body well compact and strong ; his stature 
under six foot (*' I believe about two inches ") ; his head 
so shaped as you might see it both a storehouse and shop, 


of a vast treasiiry of natural parts ; his temper exceeding 
fiery (" as I have known ''), but the flame of it kept 
down for the most part, or soon allayed with those moral 
endowments he had ; naturally compassionate towards 
objects in distress, even to an effeminate measure, though 
God had made him a heart, wherein was left little room 
for any fear ; " a larger soul, I thinlx, hath seldom dwelt in 
" a house of clay than his was.'' What Englishman may 
not be proud of that written portrait of Oliver Cromwell, 
still fresh from the hand of worthy Mr. John Maidstone, 
cofferer and gentleman-in- waiting on the Lord Protector 
of England ? 

Of the general estimate of him formed by the French 
historian little more need be said. There is much we 
might further make objection to ; but, compressed and 
brief as our summary of M. Guizot^s views has been, it 
will perhaps be understood with sufficient reservation. 
He does not reject the stories of the Irish massacres, 
though they are unwittingly refuted even by Cromwell's 
most eager enemies, the Irish priests, in the Clonmacnoise 
manifesto. He retains, on authority very decidedly ques- 
tionable, a great many reports which would tend to 
suggest ill thoughts of the Protector. But to the full 
worldly extent of the term, his Cromwell, whether before 
or after the Protectorate, is one of the great men of the 
earth. He is under the influence of ambition, but it is 
an ambition generally qualified, and often exalted, by the 
state necessities to which it bends. The question that 
so early arose between him and the Long Parliament, 
M. Guizot calls the beginning of a duel, of which he holds 
that neither party engaged therein could avoid forcing 
it on to its close. Of one or the other, it became the 
duty cedere majori; and, as we infer from his reasoning, 
it could not but occur to the Parliament towards the close 
of the struggle, while claiming over Cromwell a nominal 
supremacy, to feel the sting of the last portion of the 
epigram. Ilia gravis palma est, qiiam minor hostis hahet. 
But while indicating thus where in his judgment the 
pre-eminence lay, he might have added Cromwell's own 
later admission of the merits and services of his adver- 
saries. " They had done things of honour," he told hig 
second House of Commons, " and things of necessity : 

Cromwell.'] victor in the duel. 39 

" things which, if at this day you have any judgment 
" that there lieth a possibility upon you to do any good, I 
" may say that you are all beholden to that Long Parlia- 
" ment for." At the same time, let us remark, the French 
historian's researches to illustrate this contention of 
Cromwell and the republicans appear to establish very 
clearly one point of considerable interest. He shows 
decisively that Cromwell, before the republic fell by 
his hand, was indisputably the first man, and acknow- 
ledged to be the first man, in it ; not simply in right 
of his victories, but by the administrative genius he 
had displayed, and by the light in which the foreign 
courts already regarded him. He fails himself, how- 
ever, to attach sufiicient importance to this ; and perhaps 
generally he somewhat underrates the influence and con- 
nection of foreign policy with the domestic administration 
of England at the period. 

But the mistake, if it be one, does not stint the details 
of foreign policy which M. Guizot gives. These open to 
us the manuscript treasures of the Hague, and the un- 
published archives of the French foreign office, as well as 
of Simancas in Spain, and pour upon this part of his 
great subject a flood of steady and original light. His 
volumes thus include details of various confidential mis- 
sions, and much other matter of the highest interest, of 
which the most essential portions are given complete. 
That we should always admit their evidence, in exactly 
the light in which M. Guizot seems disposed to accept it, 
we of course do not find to be necessary. Although both 
M. CrouUe for France, and Don Alonzo de Cardenas 
for Spain, express and act upon opinions of Cromwell 
which agree generally with the judgment formed of his 
character in M. Guizot's book, it may yet be said with 
perfect fairness, that neither a gentleman from the court 
of Philip lY, nor a gentleman representing a statesman 
of the stamp of Mazarin, were very likely to understand 
an exalted zeal like Cromwell's, taking it always for what 
it claimed to be. Putting aside some few acts of policy, 
however, perhaps justified by the distinction, which is 
only too freely permitted, between private and political 
morality, there is nothing in these new discoveries of 
which any defender of Cromwell has need to be ashamed, 


and there is a vast deal to confirm very strikingly tlie 
sense of his greatness. 

"We give a few examples not in the histories. Before 
the time of the Protectorate, by the chief statesmen of 
both parties in the war of the Fronde then raging in 
France, the upward course of the great leader of the 
popular party in England had been watched with anxiety 
and dread. Both feared and hated him ; yet such was 
their position in regard to Spain, and each other, that his 
friendly countenance to either was become of inexpres- 
sible value. He had hardly arrived in London, after the 
battle of Worcester, when, in answer to overtures from 
De Retz at the instant of the brief triumph Avhich pre- 
ceded that statesman's fall, he sent Henry Yane with a 
letter to him (a striking proof that up to this time, that 
" great parliamentarian and intimate confidant of his," 
as the Cardinal describes him, could have had no suspi- 
cion of any blow meditated against the Parliament) ; and 
this also is the date when Mazarin, afi'ecting to put a 
friendly construction upon rumours that had reached him 
of a proposed expedition of Cromweirs into France, 
eagerly suggests to M. Croulle, through M. Servien, that 
if at the close of his Scottish campaign " Mr. Cromwell 
" should come into France, being as he is a pei'son of 
" merit, he will be well received here, for assuredly every 
" one will go to meet him at the place where he disem- 
" barks." Of course M. Croulle promptly disabuses his 
master of any notion of expecting that kind of neighbourly 
visit ; but, in also contradicting the report that any hostile 
intentions were entertained to France, he is careful to 
reproduce for the Cardinal the haughty terms in which 
Cromwell himself was said to have denied it. " Looking 
" at his hair, which is already white. General Cromwell 
" said that if he were ten years younger there was not a 
" king in Europe whom he could not make to tremble ; 
" and that, as he had a better motive than the late king 
" of Sweden, he believed himself still capable of doing 
" more for the good of nations than the other ever did 
" for his own ambition." 

Nevertheless, it was while overtures were on all sides 
secretly going on, and still during De Retz's brief predo- 
minance, that the double-faced Mazarin thus wrote from 

Cromwell. "l cardinal and coadjutor outwitted. 41 

his place of exile at BruU to discredit De Eetz with the 
queen. It was probably written at the very moment 
when the Coadjutor himself was attempting to justify his 
intercourse with Yane, on the express ground of what he 
calls Mazarin's ''base and continual flattery" of Cromwell. 
" The Coadjutor has always spoken with veneration of 
*' Cromwell, as of a man sent by God into England, 
" saying that he would raise such men also in other 
" kingdoms ; and once in good company, where there was 
" Menage present, hearing the courage of M. de Beaufort 
" extolled, he said in express terms, if 31. de Beaufort is 
" Fairfax, I am Cromwell.'' A portion of M. Guizot's 
comment (which we need hardly say we have translated 
for ourselves) may be subjoined. " Mazarin excelled in 
" poisoning, for the ruin of his enemies, their actions or 
*' their words, and at the same time in taking to himself 
" impudently their examples and their weapons. While 
" he thus showed to the queen's eyes, as a crime in the 
" Coadjutor, his opinion of Cromwell, he laboured him- 
" self to enter with Cromwell into close relations. Too 
" shrewd not to recognise that in that direction, in Eng- 
*' land, lay the capacity and power,' it was to the future 
*' master of the republic, no longer to the republican 
" parliament, that he made his advances." To this, it is 
needless to add, Cromwell lent himself willingly ; he was 
too incessantly bent on making to himself powerful friends 
everywhere ; and soon Mazarin was within the toils of a 
subtler brain and stronger hand. " Mr. Cromwell adroitly 
''leaves to others the conduct and care of whatever 
" begets outcry," wrote, in 1650, CrouUe to M. Servien, 
" and reserves to himself affairs that confer obligation ; 
" concerning which at least he sets rumours afloat, in 
" such manner that if they succeed they may be attri- 
" buted to him, and if not that one may see he willed 
" them well, and that the result came of hindrance from 
" others." ' 

^ ^' Trop sagace pour ne pas re- " and ability then existing in Eng- 

' ' connaitre que la etaient, en Angle- ' ' land. " 

" iei're, Vhabilete et le pouvoir." 2 ^ letter to Mazarin from the 

According to the translator, "Too Count d'Estrador is added, in which, 

" sagacious not to perceive that in though the date is the 5th of Febru- 

" him were centred all the power ary, 1652, the title of Protector is 


We cannot give all the details of the overtures that 
thus began, curious and impressive as they are, but 
through none of them, the reader at once perceives, was 
Mazarin a match for Cromwell. The great soldier and 
statesman, though with his own predilections hampered 
by the prejudices of his country, and standing between 
the intrigues of the rival Courts of France and Spain, 
yet knew how to play his game with perfect safety, 
and to obtain substantially all that he desired. All 
through the negotiations that ensued, however, two 
things are very obvious in his far-sighted policy. He had 
not simply to adjust the balance in Europe, at that time 
overweighted by France ; but he had to look to the safety 
and stability of his own recently settled government, more 
in danger from so near a neighbour as France, than from 
one so distant as Spain. Here will be found the real 
clue to his wonderful management of these two powers ; 
and to the measures by which he had been able to estab- 
lish so potent and singular an influence in the heart, and 
over both the parties, of the neighbour kingdom. Up to 
the time of the expulsion of the Long Parliament, no 
alliance had been absolutely concluded with either France 
or Spain ; though, at the moment of its expulsion, M. 
Bordeaux was under the impression that a treaty with it, 
on the part of the statesman he represented, was on the 
point of being happily concluded. But already Mazarin 
had been obliged, even without deriving any immediate 
advantage from the step, formally to recognise the 
Republic and its leaders ; and with hot haste, as soon as 
the Long Parliament was dissolved, the Cardinal of course 
easily betook himself to the power that remained trium- 
phant. " Mazarin," writes M. Guizot, " always pro- 
" digal of flattering advances, wrote to Cromwell to offer 
" him, and ask from him, a serviceable friendship. Crom- 
" well replied to him ^dth a rare excess of affected hu- 

given to Cromwell. Of course tliere- note, or explain the confusion it was 

fore M. Guizot is careful to remark, intended to remedy ; and in subse- 

ina note, that as the letter and its quently giving the note of June '53, 

date are beyond question, the title quoted in the text, he appends to 

of Protector must have been inter- its signature the title (P.) which its 

calated some years afterwards ; but very contents should have shown him 

his translator does not think it did not then belong to the writer, 
worth while either to translate this 

Cromwell. "^ mazarin no match for Oliver. 43 

" mility.'* And then follows a little note, concerning 
wMcli Mr. Carlyle, believing it to exist only in the form 
of a French translation made by Mazarin, remarked, that 
" it would not be wholly without significance if we had 
*' it in the original." Here it is in the original : 

" Westminster^ 9th of June, 1653. 

"It is surprise to me that your Eminency should take notice of a 
person so inconsiderable as myself, living (as it were) separate from 
the world. This honour has done (as it ought) a very deep impression 
upon me, and does oblige me to serve your Eminency upon aU occa- 
sions, so as I shall be happy to hnd out. So I trust that very honour- 
able person Monsieur Burdoe [Bordeaux] will therein be helpful to 
"Your Eminencie's 

* ' Thrice humble Servant, 

"0. Cromwell." 

The historian calls this a rare excess of affected hu- 
mility ; but, after all, what is there more in the counter- 
feit humility, than such a reply to a compliment as 
every gentleman in England makes every week in some 
form to somebody. " You do me too much honour. 
" There is nothing that I would not do to serve you, Sir. 
" Good morning." 

In truth, there is never any affected humility, but 
rather a contempt very thinly covered, if not openly 
avowed, from Cromwell to Mazarin ; nor does this find 
anywhere more characteristic expression than in the 
evidence the historian incidentally gives us of the sort of 
gifts they interchanged. While Mazarin sent over regal 
presents of tapestry, wine, and Barbary horses, Cromwell, 
familiarly and half contemptuously confident that he had 
to do with a man more avaricious than vain, would return 
such compliments by forwarding so many cases of pure 
Cornwall tin. As to their public intercourse throughout, 
one sees that it was but a constant interchange of conces- 
sions and resistances, services and refusals, in which they 
ran little risk of quarrelling, for the simple reason that 
they understood each other, and did not require, on either 
hand, anything that could not be denied without doing 
greater injury than the grant would do service ; but it 
was after all a kind of equality in which the personal 
predominance remained with Cromwell. It is he whom 
it is manifestly impossible, throughout, either to intimidate 


or deceive ; and tliougli it was no small art on Mazarin's 
side, as soon as lie saw this, to affect to meet his adver- 
sary with the same simple frankness, there cannot be a 
question which plays the greater figure, he who possessed 
the art, or he who always reduced its possessor to the 
necessity of practising it. 

M. Guizot justly describes the foreign policy of Crom- 
well as based on two fixed ideas, — peace with the United 
Provinces and the alliance of the Protestant States. These 
were, in his eyes, the two vital conditions of the security 
and greatness of his country in Europe, of his own 
security and his own greatness in Europe and in his 
country. With the United Provinces, peace was at once 
made ; Whitelocke was sent upon his embassy to Sweden ; 
a special treaty of commerce was negotiated with the 
King of Denmark; and Cromwell found himself on terms 
of friendship with all Protestant States of Europe. In 
France it was said that he even meditated, in the interests 
of Protestantism, a more vast and difficult design. 
" The Protector proposes to himself," wrote one of 
Mazarin's confidential agents to his master the Cardinal, 
" to cause the assembly of a council of all the Protestant 
" communions, to re-unite them in one body for the 
" common confession of one and the same faith." Some 
particular facts indicate that Cromwell was, indeed, pre- 
occupied with this idea. It was one of many such he 
would fain have realised, and he reluctantly laid aside. 
Well does M. Guizot describe him as one of those persons 
of powerful and fertile genius in whom great designs and 
great temptations are born by crowds : but who applied 
promptly his firm good sense to his grandest dreams, and 
never pursued farther those which did not stand that 
trial. " He assumed towards the Catholic powers," the 
French historian finely and characteristically continues, 
" an attitude of complete and frigid independence, without 
" prejudice or ill-will, but without forwardness, showing 
" himself disposed to peace, but always leaving to be seen a 
" glimpse of war, and carrying a rough pride into the care of 
" the interests of his country or of his own greatness." 

' We cannot resist giving M. translator. "II prit envers les 
Guizot's text in this latter paragraph "puissances Catholiques uue atti- 
ia conuexion with the version of his " tude complete et froide liberie,— 

Cromwell. 1^ bidding high for an alliance. 45 

One example of that rougli pride and immovable resolve 
rises promptly to tlie mind. The King of Portugal was 
stigmatised at Madrid as an usurper, but Cromwell, who 
had received his ambassador, consented to sign a treaty 
with him; and on the very day when the treaty was 
signed, the ambassador's brother, Don Pantaloon de Sa, 
who, under the plea of supposed immunity to members 
of a foreign embassy, had committed a fatal outrage on 
an English citizen, perished on a public scaffold at Tower 
Hill. No man had believed that this would be, and the 
fate of that Portuguese noble sent a thrill through Europe. 
Shall we wonder that France and Spain outdid each other 
in obsequious homage before such indomitable and intract- 
able energy? We see, in the French histonan's page, 
each bidding higher and higher against the other for his 
active friendship, and Cardenas at last eagerly offering 
him a subvention of not less than six hundred thousand 
dollars a year, " without having in London or in Flanders," 
wrote Mazarin to Bordeaux, *' the first sou to give him, if 
" he took them at their word. He would promise with the 
" same faciHty a million, indeed two, to get a pledge from 
" him, since assuredly it would not cost them more to 
" hold and execute one promise than the other." Mazarin, 
a better diplomatist, enriched his promises with a flowing 
courtesy; sent with them his wine, his tapestry, and his 
Barbary horses ; and conceded, on the part of the young 
king, a rank only less than royal. Even the Prince of 
Conde hastened to make himself acceptable to the rough 
English soldier, and declared his belief that the people of 
the three kingdoms must be surely at the summit of their 
happiness in seeing their goods and lives confided to so 
great a man. 

" sans prejugd ni raauvais vouloir, " powers he assumed an attitude of 

" mais sans empressement, se men- " complete and fearless liberty, un- 

" trant dispose a la paix, mais lais- *' marked by prejudice or ill-will, 

" sant toujours entrevoir la guerre, " but equally void of courtship or 

" et portant une fierte rude dans le " flattery, showing himself disposed 

" soin des interets de son pays ou "to maintain peace, but always 

" de sa propre grandeur." That " leaving open the prospect of war, 

is an admirable specimen of JM. '* and watching over the interests 

Guizot's style and manner in this " of his country and of his own 

book. We could hardly instance a " family with stern and uncompro- 

better. But now observe the fol- '' mising haughtiness." 
lowing : ' ' Towards the Catholic 


Cromwell received all these advances, according to M. 
Guizot, with the same show of good will. But it was not 
that he saw them all with equal eye, or that he drifted 
indifferent or uncertain among allies so opposite. " Unlike 
" the Long Parliament, he inclined much more towards 
*' France than towards Spain ; with a superior sagacity 
" he had perceived that Spain w^as thenceforward an 
*' apathetic power, ahle to effect hut little, and, in spite 
*' of its favourable demonstrations, more hostile than any 
" other to Protestant England, for it was more exclu- 
" sively than any other given up to the maxims and 
*' influences of the Roman Church. And at the same 
" time that there was little to expect from Spain, 
*' she offered to the maritime ambition of England, by 
*' her vast possessions in the new world, rich and easy 
" prey." 

There soon followed, accordingly, the well-known 
swoop upon the King of Spain's West India possessions. 
The better half of the design failed, indeed, when the 
attack upon St. Domingo failed; but the seizure of 
Jamaica was an unquestionable prize, which Cromwell's 
wisdom turned at once to a noble account. All these 
incidents, and their consequences, show ever characteris- 
tically the personal predominance of the Protector. Up 
to within a few days of the declaration of war against 
Spain, hope had continued with Cardenas. To even the 
hour of the treaty of alliance with France, fear had not 
quitted Mazarin. And, in the actual dispatches written 
while the events were in progress, lives still their most 
graphic history. M. Guizot sees this, and the foreign 
policy of the Protectorate is thus with a rare freshness 
reproduced by him. We compare the mighty tread 
of Cromwell with the pirouettes of the statesmen opposed 
to him, and get no mean perception of the true hero of 
the day. 

Of the conditions of the treaty at last concluded with 
France, we need not speak ; but the jealous rigour with 
which Cromwell insisted on the substitution of Eex Gal- 
lorum, for Rex GaUicBy is a pregnant indication of the 
attitude then assumed by him to the most powerful of 
foreign States. Never, certainly, had our English name 
been carried so high. " He is the greatest and happiest 

Cromwell.'^ homage of foreign sovereigns. 47 

*' prince in Europe," exclaimed young Louis Quatorze. 
Bound in fast treaties with all the Protestant States, 
allied to the most potent of Catholic Sovereigns, Monte- 
cuculi deprecating his wrath on one side as agent for 
the house of Austria, and on the other the Marquis of 
Leyden on behalf of the King of Spain, he received, 
besides the foreign ministers who habitually resided 
at his court, ambassadors extraordinary from Sweden, 
Poland, Germany, and Italy, who came solemnly to 
present to him the overtures or homage of their masters. 
To the very last he received this homage. While he lay 
himself in the sickness from which he never recovered, 
the young French King was talking bare-headed to 
his son-in-law. Lord Fauconberg ; and the great French 
Cardinal was treating him with a ceremony which, even 
to the King himself,' he ordinarily dispensed with. 
Pictures and medals, some nobly commemorative of his 
exploits, others coarsely satirical of his adversaries, 
were displayed in almost every town of the continent; 
celebrating his illustrious deeds, and humbling before 
them the old princes and kings. Well might one of the 
most considerable of the foreign agents write over to 
Thurloe, from Brussels, that " the Lord Protector's 
" government makes England more formidable and con- 
" siderable to all nations than it has ever been in my 
" day." 

Not the less comes in the inevitable, the melancholy 
close. "While the Lord Protector's government was thus 
formidable and considerable abroad, it was beset with 

I I quote from a letter of Lord " after an hour's discourse in pri- 

Fauconberg's, written in June, 1658, " vate, he conducted me downe to 

to inform Henry Cromwell that he "the very door, where my coach 

had had "the honorablest recep- "stood, a ceremony he dispenses 

" tion imaginable" at the French "with not only to all others, but 

Court. "The King did not only " even to the King himself. The 

* ' keepe bare at my publique au- ' ' charge of two very handsome 

" diences, but, when I made him a " tables were defrayed (for myself 

" private visit, he talked with me "and followers) by the King, all 

" in the garden an hour or two uu- " the while I stayed. In siimrae, 

" covered. From the Cardinal, the " through all their actions, not the 

" honors I had were particular " least circumstance was omitted, 

" and unusual : he waved the state " that might witness the truth of 

" of a publique audience, came out "those respects they beai-e his 

"of his own room to meet me, led " Highnesse and the English na- 

" me presently into his cabinet ; " tion." 


difficulties at home, wHch drove him finally to expe- 
dients that are alleged to have thrown discredit on his 
rule, and to have obscured the glory of his name. It 
would take us too far from our present purpose to discuss 
this matter with M. Guizot, with whom, respecting it, 
we have some important differences ; but we will en- 
deavour briefly but clearly to present the result of the 
investigation and reasoning which he appears to have 
been at great pains to bestow upon it. 

Of Cromwell's first effort, after the dissolution of the 
Long Parliament, to govern with the help of the men 
who had been parties to that act of violence, the result, 
according to M. Guizot's view, was to show him that 
reforming sectaries and innovators, though useful instru- 
ments of destruction, are destructive to the very power 
they establish ; and that the classes among whom con- 
servative interests prevail are the only natural and 
permanent allies of authority. Yet he had no choice but 
to try again, and again to renew, his efforts in the same 
direction, with what help his experience could give ; for the 
French historian has satisfied himself that his honest 
desire was so far to place himself, by any possible means, 
in subordination to English law, as to obtain co-operation 
from a fairly chosen Parliament in establishing a dynasty 
of Cromwell kings, and restoring the ancient form of 
Lords and Commons with that revival of the monarchy. 
But his attempts were all unavailing. He could not 
restore what he had so helped to destroy. Amid the 
ruins which his hands had made, he was doomed to see 
the vanity of those rash hopes, and to learn that no 
Government is, or can be, the work of man's will alone. 
In the endeavour to obtain such a Parliament as the old 
usages of England sanctioned, he raised up more than 
one semi-constitutional assembly ; but merely to destroy 
it when it disappointed him, and with it, as he well 
knew, his only safe means of taxing the people he would 
govern. The money needful for State purposes thus 
failing him, he was at last driven to the expedient pro- 
nounced by M. Guizot to be the political act which caused 
his ruin: the estabhshment of Major- Generals to levy tithes 
on the revenues of the royalists. By this unjustifiable 
act, he is declared to have detached his glory from the 

Cromwell.'] failure of protectorate itself. 49 

cause of order and peace, in tlie name of wMcli lie had 
begun to found his throne, and to have plunged his 
power down into the depths of revolutionary violence. 
" He invoked," says the constitutional historian, *' neces- 
*' sity ; and without doubt thought himself reduced to 
" that : if he was right, it was one of those necessities 
" inflicted by God's justice, which reveal the innate vice 
" of a Government, and become the sentence of its con- 
" demnation." 

From this time to the end, the French historian believes 
CromweU to have been thoroughly conscious of the weak- 
ness with which he was smitten by his own deed, and 
that it was now, upon feeKng in all directions for support, 
he at last perceived his surest prop to be the advocacy of 
liberty of conscience. (Need we interpose to repeat, what 
already we have distinctly shown, that never had this 
sacred cause, at any period of his life^ been without his 
advocacy?) Of the formal discussion which he afterwards 
raised with his friendly Parliament on the question of 
his assuming royal state, the historian speaks as of a 
comedy performed for the instruction of the nation. It 
was designed to make men familiar with the topic, and 
to scatter abroad a variety of arguments in its favour ; 
but the interference of the army brought the comedy to 
an unwelcome end. Cromwell resigned the name of 
king ; and with it, the historian appears to think, any 
power of retaining much longer the kingly authority. 
He had arrived at the slippery height on which to stand 
still was impossible, and there was no alternative but to 
mount higher or to fall. Even his great heart failed 
him. He now saw, that, die when he might, he must 
be content to leave behind him for his successors, the 
two enemies he had most ardently combatted — Anarchy, 
and the Stuarts ; and M. Guizot's comments leave it 
to be inferred as his opinion, that had he long sur- 
vived the discomfiture which embittered his last months, 
even his political position might have been seriously 
endangered. He died, however, in the fullness of his 
power, though sorroicful. " Sorrowful not only because 
" he must die, but also, and above all, because he 
" must die without having attained his true and final 
" purpose." 


Noble purposes lie nevertheless fully achieved, and a 
fame which will set him ever apart amongst the most 
illustrious of Englishmen. Let our last allusions he to 
such parts of his character as no doubt can possibly rest 
upon. Of his patronage of Hterature and learned men, 
M. Guizot speaks with due respect. Though he holds 
that his mind was neither naturally elegant nor richly 
cultivated, he yet cannot fail to see that his free and 
liberal genius understood thoroughly the wants of the 
human intellect. And while M. Guizot's experience has 
taught him that absolute power, on emerging from great 
social disturbances, takes its principal delight and achieves 
its easiest triumphs in the promotion of material prospe- 
rity, still, in regard to Cromwell, he frankly admits that 
few despots have so carefully confined their despotism 
within the limits of practical necessity, and allowed the 
human mind such a wide range of freedom. He sees in 
him the practical saviour of the two old Universities, 
and the founder of the University of Durham : following 
out and establishing, in both, what the Statesmen of the 
Long Parliament had begun. He is glad to record that he 
offered Hobbes the post of a secretary in his household, 
that he continued the employment of Milton, and that 
he took no offence at either Casaubon or Selden, when 
the one declined his pension and the other his invitation 
to write a history of the civil wars. He dwells with 
pleasure on his kindness to the learned Usher, on his 
desire to stand well with Cudworth and with Taylor, on 
his frank patronage of all the lettered Puritans,' on his 
friendly intercourse with Marvel and Morland, with 
Petty the Irish statist and with Pell the famous linguist, 
and on the facts that Waller had a place in his court 
(we have evidence, since M. Guizot wrote, that he 
put no mean value on the poet's famous panegyric^), 

^ "When the great design of pub- has no guilt upon him unless it be 

lishing the Polyglott was set on "to be revenged for your soe wil- 

foot by Dr. Walton, Cromwell per- " linglye mistakinge mee in your 

mitted the paper to be imported '* verses ;" and talks of putting 

duty free. Waller to redeem him from himself, 

2 A brief but remarkable letter as he had already from the world, 
was brought to light the other day, in The great Protector was not insen- 
which Cromwell, writing from White- sible to those noble and ever memo- 
hall in 1655, tells Waller that he rable lines. Waller had known well 

Cromwell.'] protectorate court circular. 51 

that Butler was permitted to meditate Hudibras in the 
house of one of his officers, and that Davenant obtained 
his permission to open a private theatre for performance 
of his comedies. He might have added that the Lord 
Protector had himself a taste for innocent and cheerful 
recreation ; that he had no objection to play at Crambo, 
or even occasionally to smoke a pipe with Lord Commis- 
sioner Whitelocke, who also has left us a pleasant 
anecdote contrasting his laughter and gaiety to the sol- 
diers with the greater impatience and reserve of Ireton ; 
and that, in the correspondence of one of the Dutch 
ambassadors, there is a picture of his courteous habits on 
state occasions, and of the dignified and graceful conduct 
of his household, which far exceeds, in sober grandeur 
and worth, any other court circular of that age. " The 
" music played all the while we were at dinner," says 
Herr Jongestall, " and after, the Lord Protector had us 
" into another room, where the Lady Protectress and 
" others came to us, and we had also music and voices." 
To these graces of his private life, and to his domestic 
love and tenderness, which even his worst enemies have 
admitted, M. Guizot is of course, not slow to pay tribute ; 
but on one point he has suffered himself to be strangely 
misled. He gravely mentions Cromwell's infidelity to 
his wife, as if it were an admitted fact, and not a mere 
royalist slander; and he seems to think that some 

how to make his Panegyric most '* Hither the oppressed shall hence- 
pleasing to his great kinsman's ear. forth resort 

** Justice to crave, and succour of 
** The Sea's our own, and now all your Court, 

nations greet ** And show your Highness not for 
** With bending sails each vessel in ours alone 

our fleet, *' But for the World's Protector 
* * Your power resounds as far as shall be known . . . 

wind can blow, " To pardon willing, and to punish 
" Or swelling sails upon the globe loth, 

may go . . . " You strike with one hand, but 
" Whether this portion of the world you heal with both . . . 

were rent " Still as you rise, the State, ex- 
** By the wide ocean from the con- alted too, 

tinent, " Finds no distemper while 'tis 
" Or thus created, it was sure de- changed by you — 

signed *' Changed like the World's great 
"To be the sacred refuge of man- scene, when without noise 

kind. " The rising Sun night's vulgar 

lights destroys ! " 

E 2 


complaints of her own remain, in proof of a well-founded 
jealousy. Jealousy there may be, in the solitary letter 
of this excellent woman which has descended to us ; but 
it is the jealousy only of a gentle and sensitive nature, 
shrinking from the least ruflEe or breath of doubt that can 
come between itself and the beloved. " My dearest," she 
writes, " I wonder you should blame me for writing no 
" oftener, when I have sent three for one : I cannot but 
" think they are miscarried. Truly, if I know my own 
" heart, I should as soon neglect myself as to omit the 
" least thought towards you, when in doing it I must do 
" it to myself. But when I do write, my dear, I seldom 
" have any satisfactory answer, which makes me think my 
" writing is slighted ; as well it may ; but I cannot but 
" think your love covers my weakness and infirmities. 
" Truly my life is but half a life in your absence." That 
is not the writing of a woman jealous of anything but 
the share of her husband's time and care which public 
affairs steal from her. Most touching, too, is a letter of 
his own of nearly the same date, written to her from the 
very midst of the toils and perils of Dunbar ; in which 
he tells her that truly, if he does not love her too well, 
he thinks he errs not on the other hand much, and 
assures her that she is dearer to him than any creature. 
Let M. Guizot be well assured that he has here fallen 
into error. 

Of another error into which he has fallen, also con- 
nected with the domesticities of Cromwell, we have now, 
in conclusion, to speak in somewhat more detail. It 
touches an interesting point in Cromwell's history, and 
we are happy to be able to remove all further doubt 
respecting it. By none who have yet written on the 
subject has it been stated correctly. 

Five sons were born to Cromwell, of whom the youngest, 
James, born in 1632, certainly died in his infancy, and 
the eldest, Eobert, born in 1621, is supposed in all the 
biographies not to have survived his childhood. The 
second son, Oliver, born in 1623, grew to manhood, and 
his name is to be found enrolled as a cornet in the eighth 
troop of what was called " Earl Bedford's Horse." He 
was killed in battle ; but, in our opinion, certainly not so 
early as appears to be fixed by Mr. Carlyle, who accepts 

Cromwell. '\ family histoey. 53 

an allusion, in a letter of his father's written after Marstou 
Moor, as referring to this loss, which we are about to 
show might have had quite another reference. Be this 
as it may, however, all the biographers up to this time 
have agreed, in regard to the eldest, Robert, that what is 
comprised in Mr. Carlyle's curt notice, " Named for Ms 
" grandfather. No farther account of him. Died before 
" ripe yearsy' — must be taken to express whatever now 
can be known. Cromwell's only distinct reference to any 
of his sons while yet in tender years, is contained in a 
letter addressed to his cousin, Oliver St. John's wife, 
while she was staying with his friend and relative Sir 
William Masham, at Otes, in Essex ; and Mr. Carlyle 
connects the reference in this letter with the fact that 
some two or three of Cromwell's sons were certainly 
educated at the neighbouring public school of Felsted, 
where their maternal grandfather had his country-seat. 
But the allusion surely relates specifically to one son, who 
appears to have been either staying with the Mashams at 
the time, or the object of some particular care and sym- 
pathy on their part. " Salute all my friends in that 
" family whereof you are yet a member. I am much 
" bound unto them for their love. I bless the Lord for 
" them ! and that my son, by their procurement, is so 
" well. Let him have your prayers, your counsel." 

Such had been the amount of existing information 
respecting the two eldest sons of Cromwell, when, before 
the publication of Mr. Carlyle's work, the present Avriter, 
in the Fifth Volume of his Statesmen of the Common- 
wealth, reproduced from one of tbe king's pamphlets in 
the British Museum, a very striking account of the death- 
bed of the Lord Protector, written by a groom of the 
chamber in waiting on him. In this, Cromwell was re- 
presented calling for his Bible, and desiring those verses 
from the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians 
to be read to him, in which the Apostle speaks of having 
learned, in whatever state he was, therewith to be con- 
tent, for he could do all things through Christ which 
strengthened him. " ^Yhich read," (the account pro- 
ceeded) " said he, to use his own words as near as I can 
" remember them. This scripture did once save my life ; 
" when my eldest son died; tchich went as a dagger to my 


" heart : indeed it did/' Naturally enough, this aiFecting 
passage was supposed by the writer who reproduced it to 
relate to his son's death in battle, and Mr. Carlyle arrived 
also at the same conclusion so confidently, that after 
" eldest son '' he put in " poor Oliver " in reprinting it, 
at the same time carefully marking the words as an 
insertion. M. Guizot, however, has gone two steps further, 
and printed the passage thus : " Ce texte, dit-il, m'a 
" sauve une fois la vie, quand mon fils aine, mon paiivre 
" Olivier, fat tue, ce qui me perca le coeur comme un 
" poignard." In making this change without the least 
authority, M. Gruizot marked unconsciously the weak 
point in the supposition he had adopted from others, and 
on which he was himself, too confidently proceeding. If 
the Protector had really intended his allusion for the son 
who had been slain in battle, would he not, in place of 
the simple expression *' when my eldest son died," more 
probably have said just exactly what M. Guizot has 
thought it necessary to say for him ? 

We are now in a position to prove that the allusion was 
not to Oliver, but to Robert ; that Robert lived till his 
nineteenth year ; that he was buried at Felsted within 
seven months of the date of the letter containing the 
allusion to the kindness of the Mashams respecting him ; 
and that his youth had inspired such promise of a future 
as might well justify the place in his father's heart kept 
sacred to his memory as long as life remained. In the 
register of burials in the parish church of Felsted, under 
the year 1639, is the following entry : " Eobertus Crom- 
" well filius honorandi viri M^J^ Oliveris Cromwell et 
" Elizabethae uxoris ejus sepultus fuit 31° die Maii. Et 
" Robertus fuit eximie pius juvenis deum timens supra 
" multos." ' Which remarkable addition to a simple 
mention of burial, we need hardly point out as of ex- 

* This entry has been more than name, "^t'^^er and ITz'^gs," says Sel- 

once carefully examined, and is here den {IHtles of Honour, Ivi.), "often 

l>rinied verbatim et litei'atim, as it "signify in the old feudal law of 

stands in the register. The word "the Empire, a gentleman, as the 

denoted by the conti-action M*'* is * ' Avord gentleman is signified in no- 

" Militis," in the sense of esquire, or " bilisy and not a dubbed knight ; 

arm-bearing gentleman, and there " as with us in England, the word 

are some rare examples of its use " m?7^Ves denotes gentlemen or great 

with this meaning before a proper " freeholders of the country also." 

Cromwell.'] "vm honorandus." 55 

tremely rare occurrence on tliat most formal of all the 
pages of liistory — a leaf of the parish register ; where to be 
born, and to die, is all that can in justice be conceded to 
either rich or poor. The friend who examined the original 
for us could find no other instance in the volume of a 
deviation from the strict rule. Among all the fathers, 
sons, and brothers, crowded into its records of birth and 
death, the only vir honorandus is the puritan squire of 
Huntingdon. The name of the vicar of Felsted in 1639 
was "Wharton ; this entry is in his handwriting, and has 
his signature appended to it ; and let it henceforward be 
remembered as the good Mr. Wharton's distinction, that, 
long before Cromwell's name was famous beyond his 
native county, he had appeared to this incumbent of a 
small Essex parish as a man to be honoured. 

The tribute to the youth who passed so early away, 
uncouthly expressed as it is, takes a deep and mournful 
significance from the words which lingered last on the 
dying lips of his heroic father. If Heaven had but 
spared all that gentle and noble promise which repre- 
sented once the eldest son and successor of Cromwell's 
name, the sceptre then falling might have found a hand 
to grasp and sustain it, and the history of England taken 
quite another course. The sad and sorry substitute — is 
it not written in M. Guizot's narrative of the Protectorate 
of Eichard Cromwell ? 



The Novels and Miscdlaneous Works of Daniel Be Foe; with a Bio- 
graphical Memoir of the Author. 20 vols. 12mo. Oxford: 1842. 

The Works of Daniel De Foe. 3 vols, royal 8vo. London : 1843. 

Swift proposed, for one of the sour consolations of liis 
Irish exile, to compile a catalogue of Things that Ought 
to have Succeeded. A modern version of the sorry Ust 
would be incomplete wdthout the Complete Editions of 
De Foe. Better undertakings have never more decisively- 
failed. Of the only two attempts, now before us, made 
with any sort of pretension to success, the first scantly 
executed a limited design, and the second abruptly stopped 
with four-fifths of its labour unaccomplished. Such as 
they are, the intelligent bookseller ofi'ers them for some- 
thing less than a fourth of their original cost, and has yet 
to comxplain that his customers turn away. He would 
fain think better of the writer with whom his boyhood 
associates the first and most enduring delight he has 
received from literature ; and perhaps he moves him wdth 
some reluctance from that popular shelf which holds the 
Pope, the Swift, and the Addison. 

It is with De Foe dead, as it was with De Foe living. 
He stands apart from the circle of the reigning wits of his 
time, and his name is not called over with theirs. What 
in this respect was formerly the fashion, is the fashion 
still ; and, whether sought for in the histories of Doctor 
Smollett or of Lord Mahon, his niche is vacant. His life, 

^ From the Edhiburgh Eevieiv, October, 1845. With some additions. 


to be fairly presented, should he written as the " Life and 
" Strange Surprising Adventures of Daniel De Foe, who 
" Lived about Seventy Years all Alone, in the Island of 
*' Great Britain." It might then be expected to compare, 
in vicissitude and interest, with his immortal romance ; 
as hitherto written, it has only shared the fate of his 
manly but perishable polemics. 

He was born much about the time of that year of grace 
1661, when Mr. Pepys and his wife, walking in Whitehall 
Gardens, saw " the finest smocks and linen petticoats of 
*' my Lady Castlemaine, laced with rich lace at the 
" bottom,'' that ever they saw : " and did me good to 
" look at them," adds the worthy man. There was little 
else in those days to do any body good. The people, 
drunk with the orgies of the Eestoration, rejoiced in 
nothing so much as in pimps and courtesans ; and to be 
a bad Englishman and a worse Christian, was to be a 
good Protestant and a loyal subject. Sheldon governed 
the Church, and Clarendon the State ; the bishop having 
no better charity than to bring Presbyterian preachers 
into contempt, and the chancellor no better wisdom than 
to reduce them to beggary. While Sheldon entertained 
his dinner.-table with caricatures of a dissenting minister's 
sermon, " till," says one of his guests, " it made us all 
*' burst," Clarendon was drawing up that act of unifor- 
mity, by which, in one day, he threw out three thousand 
ministers from the benefices they held. 

This was in 1662 ; and the beginning of that system 
of religious persecution, under which, with God's blessing, 
the better part of the English character re-awakened, and 
the hardy virtues of Dissent struck root and flourished. 
Up to this time, vast numbers of the Presbyterians^ 
strongly attached to monarchy, desired but a reasonable 
settlement of episcopacy, and would have given in their 
adherence to any moderate system. The hope of such a 
compromise was now rudely closed. In 1663 the Con- 
venticle Act was passed, punishing with transportation a 
third ofi'ence of attendance on any worship but that of the 
Church ; and while the plague was raging, two years after, 
the Oxford Act banished five miles from any corporate 
town all who should refuse a certain oath, which no Non- 
conformist could honestly take. Secret, stealthy worship 

De Foe."] mr. foe of cripplegate. 69 

was tlie resource left ; and other things throve in secret 
T\dth it, which would less have prospered opeiily. Sub- 
stantial citizens, wealthy tradesmen, even gossiping 
secretaries to the admiralty, began to find other employ- 
ment than the criticism of Lady Castlemaine's lace, or 
admiration of Mistress Nell Gwynne's linen. It appeared 
to be dawning on them at last, that they were really living 
in the midst of infamy and baseness ; that buffoons and 
courtesans were their rulers ; that defeat and disgrace 
were their portion ; that a Dutch fleet was riding in the 
channel, and a perjured and pensioned Popish despot 
sitting on the throne. 

The Indulgence granted to Dissenters in the year of 
the Dutch war (the previous year had been one of fierce 
persecution), opened, among other meeting-houses, that 
of Little St. Helen's, Bishopsgate ; where the Hev. Dr. 
Annesley, ejected from his living of Cripplegate by the 
Act of Uniformity, administered his pious lessons. Under 
him there sate, in that congregation of earnest listeners, 
the family of a wealthy butcher of St. Giles's Cripple- 
gate, Mr. James Foe ; and the worthy minister would 
stop approvingly, as he passed the seats of Mr. Foe, to 
speak to that bright-eyed lad of eleven, by name Daniel, 
whose activity and zeal in the good cause were already 
such, that, in fear their Popish governors might steal 
away their printed Bibles, he had " worked like a horse 
" till he had written out the whole Pentateuch." For, 
the gleam of liberty to Dissenters had been but a veil for 
the like indulgence to Papists ; and it was known at this 
very time, that the high-minded Eichard Baxter had 
refused a bribe of 50/. a-year, to give in his public approval 
of such questionable favours of the Crown. 

Mr. James Foe, a grave, reserved, and godly man,' 
seems to have been proud of his son Daniel. He gave 

1 He lived till 1707, and two " that godly minister, wlncli we 

yeai-s before his death wrote this " should not have done had not her 

testimony to a servant's character, *' conversatioa been becoming the 

which now supplies no bad testi- " gospel. From my lodgings, at 

mony to his own : — " Sarah Pierce " the Bell in Broad-street, having 

" lived with us about fifteen or six- " left my house in Throgmorton- 

" teen years since, about two years ; " street, October 10, 1705. \Yit' 

*' and behaved herself so well that '* ness my hand, James Foe." 
" we recommended her to IVIr. Cave, 


liim tlie best education whicb. a Dissenter bad it in bis 
power to give. He sent bim to tbe tben famous Aca- 
demy at Newington Green, kept by Mr. Cbarles Morton, 
an excellent Oxford Scbolar, and a man of various and 
large ability ; wbom Harvard College in New England 
afterwards cbose for vice-president, wben driven by eccle- 
siastical persecution to find a borne beyond tbe Atlantic. 
Here tbe lad was put tbrougb a course of tbeology; and 
was set to study tbe rudiments of political science. Tbese 
tbings Mr. Morton reckoned to be a part of education. 
Young Daniel also acquired a competent knowledge of 
matbematics and natural pbilosopby ; of logic, geograpby, 
and bistory ; and, wben be left tbe scbool, was reasonably 
accomplisbed in Latin and Greek, and in Frencb and 
Italian.^ He bad made bimself known, too, as a '' boxing 
" Englisb boy ; " wbo never struck liis enemy wben be 
was down. All tbis be recounted, witb no immodest or 
unmanly pride, wben assailed in after life by Browne and 
Tutcbin, for bis mean Dissenter's education. It was an 
act of justice to bis ancient fatber, be said, tben still 
living, freely to testify tbat, if be was a blockbead, it was 
nobody's fault but bis own, notbing in bis education bav- 
ing been spared tbat could qualify bim to matcb witb tbe 
accurate Doctor Browne or tbe learned Observator ; and 
b.e added, tbat tbere was a fiftb language, besides tbose 
recounted, in wbicb it bad been Mr. Morton's endeavour 

^ In later life, when replying with " pliilosopliy, and could never find 

great dignity and temper to an at- " between the two ends of nature, 

tack by Swift, he adverts to what " generation and corruption, one 

some of his studies in those eai-lier " species out of which such a crea- 

days had been. "Illiterate as I *' ture could be formed. I thought 

"am," he says, repeating Swift's " myself master of geography, and 

acrimony, ' ' I have been in my time ' ' to possess sufficient skill in astro- 

" pretty well master of five Ian- *' nomy to have setup for a country 

" guages, and have not lost them " almanac -writer ; yet could, in 

" yet ; but my father left the Ian- '* neither of the globes, find either 

" guage of Billingsgate quite out of "in what part of the world such a 

" my education. I have also made " heterogeneous creature lives, nor 

" a little progress in science. I have " under the influence of what hea- 

" read 'Euclid's Elements,' and yet " venly body he can be produced. 

** never found the mathematical de- "From whence I conclude, very 

" scription of a scurrilous gentle- " frankly, that either there is no 

" man. I have read logic, but " such creature in the world, or 

" could never see a syllogism formed " that, according to Mr. Examiner, 

" upon the notion of it. I went " I am a stupid idiot, and a very 

" some length in physics, or natural " illiterate fellow." 

Be Foe.'\ a manly exglish EDrcATiox. 6 J 

to practice and improve his scholars. " He read all his 
*' lectures, gave all his systems, whether of philosophy 
*' or divinity, and had all his' declaimings and disserta- 
" tions — in EngJlsli. We were not critics in the Greek 
** and Hebrew, perfect in languages, and perfectly igno- 
" rant, if that term may he allowed, of our mother tongue. 
" We were not destitute of languages, hut we were made 
" masters of English ; and more of us excelled in that 
" particular than of any school at that time." 

So passed the youth of Daniel Foe, in what may he 
well accounted a vigorous and healthy English training. 
With sharp and strong faculties, with early and active 
zeal, he looked out from his honest father's home and his 
liberal teacher's study, upon a course of public events 
well fitted to enforce, by dint of bitter contrast, the value 
of high courage, of stern integrity, and of unbending 
faithfulness. He would be told, by all whom he esteemed, 
of the age of great deeds and thoughts which had lately 
passed away ; and thus early would learn the difference, 
on which he dwelt in one of his first writings, between the 
grand old blind schoolmaster of Bunhill-fields, just buried 
in his father's parish of Cripplegate,^ and the ribald crowd 
of profligate poets lounging and sauntering in St. James's. 
There is no better school for the love of virtue, than that 
of hatred and contempt for vice. He would hear dis- 
cussed, with fervid and honest indignation, the recall of 
the Indulgence in 1674, after the measures for relief of 
Dissent had been defeated ; the persecution of Baxter 
and Manton in the following year ; the subsequent gross 
interference of the Bishops against a final effort for ac- 
commodation ; and the fierce^ cruelty of the penal laws 
against Nonconformists, between 1676 and 1678. Then, 
ill the latter memorable year, he would find himself in- 
volved in that sudden and fierce re- action of the Anti- 
Papist feeling of the time, which, while Protestants and 
Presbyterians were groaning under a Popish prince, 
sent numberless innocent Boman Catholic gentlemen to 
Protestant and Presbyterian scaffolds. 

When the rage of the so-called Popish Plot burst forth, 

1 Buried in tlie chancel of St. Giles at Cripplegate, November, 1674, 
John Milton. 


Mr. Morton's favourite pupil was in his seventeenth year. 
We need not say how freely we condemn that miserable 
madness ; or in what scorii we hold the false-hearted spies 
and truculent murderers, whose worthless evidence sacri- 
ficed so many noble and gentle lives. But as little can 
we doubt, that, to honest Presbyterians then existing, the 
tiling was not that cruel folly it now seems to its ; and 
we can understand their welcoming at last, in even such 
wild frenzy, a popular denunciation of the faith which 
they knew to be incompatible with both civil and religious 
liberty, yet knew to be the faith of him who occupied, 
and of him who was to succeed to, the throne. Out of 
the villainy of the Court, sprang this counter- villainy of 
Titus Gates ; and the meetings in which that miscreant 
harangued the London citizens, were the first effectual 
demonstration against the government of Charles II. We 
will not wonder, then, that there was often to be seen 
among his crowds of excited listeners, but less excited than 
they, a middle-sized, spare, active, keen-eyed youth — the 
son of Mr. Foe of Cripplegate. 

At these meetings were first heard, bandied from side 
to side, the two not least memorable words in English 
history. Then broke forth, when the horrible cruelties 
of Lauderdale were the theme, groans of sympathy for 
those tortured Cameronians who lived on the refuse, the 
" weak '' of the milk, and so had got the Scotch name of 
Whigs. Then, when justification was sought for like 
cruelties and tortures against the opposite faith, shouts of 
execration were hurled against the Papists who would 
murder Titus Gates, and who, for their thieving and 
villainous tendencies, had got the Irish name of Tories. 
Young Foe remembered this in after life ; and described 
the blustering hero of these scenes, with a squat figure, a 
vulgar drawling voice, and, right in the centre of his broad 
flat face, a mouth of fit capacity for the huge lies it uttered, 
" calling every man a Tory that opposed him in discourse.^' 
For> be it noted to the credit of the youth's sagacity, he 
did not even now, to adopt his own expression, " come 
" up to all the extravagances of some people in their 
" notions of the Popish plot." He believed, indeed, that 
wherever sincere Popery was, a conspiracy to act in con- 
formity with it would not be far off. "I never blame 

De Foe.~\ a stout protestant flail. 63 

" men who, professing principles destructive of tlie con- 
" stitution they live under, and believing it their just right 
'' to supplant it, act in conformity to the principles they 
" profess. I believe, if I were a Papist, I should do 
" the same. Believing the merit of it would carry me to 
*' heaven, I doubt not I should go as far as another. But, 
" when we ran up that plot to general massacres, fleets of 
" pilgrims, bits and bridles, knives, handcuffs, and a 
*' thousand such things, I confess, though a boy, I could 
" not then, nor can now, come up to them. And my 
" reasons were, as they still are, because I see no cause 
" to believe the Papists to be fools, whatever else we had 
" occasion to think them. A general massacre, truly ! 
" when the Papists all over the kingdom are not five to 
** a hundred, in some counties not one, and within the 
*' city hardly one to a thousand ! " 

So saved from the general folly of the Presbyterian 
party, and intolerant only because a larger toleration was 
at stake, this manly and sagacious lad needed neither 
knife nor handcuff to save himself from a Papist. He 
walked through the thick of the riots with reliance on 
a stout oaken cudgel, which he called his " Protestant 
*' flail ; " ' and he laughed at the monstrous lies that fed the 
vulgar cravings, and kept taverns agape with terror. See 
him enter one, and watch the eager group. A fellow 

^ Witli characteristic and manly " I remember I saw an honest stout 

humour he wrote, several years after " fellow, who is yet alive, with one 

this date: — "Now, a Protestant "of these Protestant instruments 

"flail is an excellent weapon. A "exorcise seven or eight ruffians 

" pistol is a fool to it. It laughs " in Fleet-street, and drive them 

* ' at the sword or cane. You know ' ' all before him quite from Fleet- 

" there's no fence against a flail. "bridge into White-friars, which 

" For my part, I have frequently " was their receptacle ; and he 

" walked with one about me in the " handled it so decently that you 

"old Popish days, and, though I "would wonder, when now and 

" never set up for a hero, yet, when " then one or two of them came 

"armed with this scourge for a " within his reach, and got a knock, 

"Papist, I remember I feared no- "to see how they would dance: 

" thing. Murthering men in the " nay, so humble and complaisant 

* ' dark was pretty much the fashion ' ' were they, that every now and 

" then, and every honest man walked "then they would kiss the very 

" the streets in danger of his life ; " ground at his feet ; nor would 

"yet so excellent a weapon is it, " they scruple descending even to 

" that really the very apprehension " the kennel itself, if they received 

" ofitsoon piitanendto theassassi- "but the word of command from 

" nations that then were practised. " this most Protestant utensil." 

64 LYixG LIKE TRUTH. \_Daniel 

bawls forth tlie last invention against " the Papishes." 
It concerns tlie new building honest men took such pride 
in, and Papists, for a reason, hated so. It is about the 
" tall bully " of a Monument ; and everybody pricks up 
his ears. AYhat has happened ? " Why, last night, six 
" Frenchmen came up and stole away the Monument ; 
" and but for the Watch, who stopped them as they were 
" going over the bridge, and made them carry it back 
" again, they might, for aught we know, have carried it 
" over into France. These Papishes will never have 
** done." Is the tale incredible ? JSTot half so much, as 
that some of those assembled should stare and doubt it. 
But now steps forward " Mr. Daniel Foe." He repeats 
the story, and tells the unbelievers to satisfy their doubts 
by going to the spot, " where they 'd see the workmen 
" employed in making all fast again." The simpletons 
swallowed the joke, " and departed quite satisfied." The 
touch of reality sent it down. A genius for homely 
fiction had strolled into the tavern, and there found its 
first victims. They deserved, by way of compensation, a 
ripe old age, and the reading of Robinson €?^usoe. 

But the strolling into taverns ? It is little likely that 
Mr. Morton, or the elder Mr. Foe, would have sanctioned 
it ; but the Presbyterian ministry was no longer, as it 
once had been, the youth's destination. He seems to 
have desired a more active sphere, and he was put to the 
business of commerce. His precise employment has been 
questioned : but, when his Hbellers in later life called him 
a hosier, he said he had never been apprentice to that 
craft, though he had been a trader in it; and it is tolerably 
certain that, in seven years from the present date, he had 
a large agency in Freeman's- court, Cornhill, as a kind 
of middleman between the manufacturer and the retail 
trader. He was a freeman of London by his birth ; on 
embarking in this business of hose-factor, he entered the 
livery; and he wrote his name in the Chamberlain's book, 
" Daniel Foe." 

Seven eventful years ! Trade could not so absorb him, 
but that he watched them with eager interest, l^or was 
it possible for such a man to watch them mthout hope. 
Hope would brighten in that sensible manly heart, when 
it most deserted weaker men's. When the King, alarmed, 

De Foe.~\ se\t:x eventful years. 66 

flung off Ms lounging sloth for crueller enjo\Tnents; when 
lampoons and ballads of tlie streets, directed against the 
doings in Whitehall, became fiercer and bolder than even 
Duchess Portsmouth's impudence; when such serious 
work was afoot, that a satire by Dryden counted more 
at Court than an indecency by Rochester ; when bills to 
exclude a Popish succession were only lost in the upper 
House by means of a phalanx of Protestant bishops, and 
the lower House that had passed them, rudely dissolved 
by a furious monarch and intemperately assailed by ser- 
vile churchmen, was calmly defended by a Sydney and 
a Somers ; when, the legitimate field of honest warfare 
being closed, dark conspii'acies and treasons took its 
place, and the daring boast of Shaftesbury passed reck- 
lessly from mouth to mouth, that he 'd walk the King 
leisurely out of his dominions, and make the Duke of 
York a vagabond on the earth like Cain ; — no fear was 
likely to depress, and no bragging was needed to keep in 
hope, this clear, shrewd intellect. The young Cornhill 
merchant told his countrymen afterwards, how it had 
gone with him then. How Tyranny had taught him the 
value of liberty. Popery the danger of passive pulpits, 
and Oppression how to prize the fence of laws ; with what 
interest he had observed the sudden visit of the King's 
nephew, William of Orange, already the hero of the 
Protestant liberties of Europe, and lately wedded to the 
presumptive heiress of the throne ; of what light esteem 
he held the monarch's disregard of that kinsman's prudent 
counsel ; and with what generous anger, yet unshrinking 
spirit, he saw the men who could not answer Algernon 
Sydney's book, erect a scaffold to take off his head. 

That was his first brave impulse to authorship of his 
own. In the year made infamous by the judicial murders 
of Russell and Sydney, he published his first pohtical 
essay. It was a prose lampoon on High Church absurdi- 
ties ; ' and, with much that would not bear present revival, 
it bore the stamp of a robust new mind, fresh from the 
reading of Rabelais. It stirred the veteran libeller 
L'Estrange, and pamphlet followed pamphlet. But it 

^ The allusion in the text is to seen reason to doubt whether De 
the Speculum Ompegownoricm; but Foe was really the author, 
since this Essay was written I have 


needs not to toucli the controversy now. It is dead and 
gone. Oxford herself repudiates, with shame, the decree 
she passed in full Convocation on the day of Russell^s 
execution ; promulgating, on pain of infamy here and 
damnation hereafter, the doctrines of divine right and 
passive obedience ; and anathematising twenty-seven pro- 
positions from Milton, Baxter, and Godwin, Bellarmine, 
Buchanan, and Hobbes, as seditious, scandalous, impious, 
blasphemous, heretical, and damnable. 

Having fleshed his maiden pen, the young merchant 
soon resumed it, in a cause again involving religious 
liberty ; with a spirit in advance of his party ; and with 
force, decision, and success. The reign of Charles was 
now setting, in a sullen, dire persecution. Chapels were 
shut ; ministers dying in jail ; congregations scattered. 
A man who would not take the sacrament, was whipped 
or pilloried ; a man who would not take it kneeling, was 
plundered or imprisoned. " See there ! '^ cried the sharp 
strong sense of Daniel Foe, whom business had taken to 
Windsor, where he had sauntered into St. George's 
Chapel with a friend — " See that altar-piece ! Our 
" Saviour administers his Last Supper to his disciples 
" sitting round the table; and because we would copy that 
" posture, the Government oppresses us." Almost as he 
spoke, the end was approaching. Evelyn had seen the 
King on the past Sunday evening, sitting and toying with 
his concubines, Portsmouth, Cleveland, and Mazarine. 
A French boy sang love-songs in a glorious gallery; 
and, round a table groaning with a bank of two thousand 
golden pieces, a crew of profligate courtiers drank and 
gambled. *' Six days after, all was in the dust ; " and 
caps in the air for James the Second. 

Of the new monarch's greetings, the most grovelling 
were those of the churchmen and the lawyers. The 
Bishop of Chester preached the divinity and infallibility 
of Kings ; the Temple benchers and barristers went to 
Court with the assurance that high prerogative, in its fullest 
extent, was the subject's best security for liberty and 
property; and in every pulpit thanksgivings resounded. 
In the first months of the reign, our hose-factor of Free- 
man's Yard heard it publicly preached from one of these 

De Foe,'] " out " with monmouth. 67 

pulpits, that if the King commanded the suhject's head, 
and sent his messengers to fetch it, the subject was bound 
to submit, and, as far as possible, facilitate his own 
decapitation. Close upon this came the sudden tidings 
of Monmouth's ill-fated landing ; and of a small band of 
daring citizens who took horse and joined him, Daniel Foe 
was one. Perhaps he thought his own head nearer danger 
than it was, and worth a stroke for safety. He knew, at 
any rate, only the better sides of Monmouth's character. 
He admired his popular manners. " None so beautiful, 
" so brave as Absolon." He had seen him among the 
people in their sports, at races and at games, and thought 
his bearing sensible and manly. What matter if Lucy 
Walters was his mother ? He knew him to be a sincere 
Protestant, and a lover of civil freedom ; and he remem- 
bered the more kindly his disgrace in the reign just 
passed, for having vainly striven to moderate Episcopal 
cruelties in Scotland, when he saw the first Scottish act 
of the reign just begun, in a law to inflict death on con- 
venticle preachers. In a word, our incipient rebel made 
no nice balance of danger and success ; he saw what 
seemed to him liberty on the one side, and slavery on the 
other, and he resolved, with whatever fortune, to strike 
a blow for the good cause. He mounted horse and joined 
the invaders ; was with them in Bristol and at Bath ; 
and very narrowly escaped the crash that followed. 

There is little doubt that while Bishops Turner and 
Ken were prolonging Monmouth's agonies on the scaffold, 
for the chance of a declaration in favour of divine right 
and non-resistance ; and while Jeffreys's bloody campaign, 
through the scenes of the late rebellion, was consigning 
his master and himself to eternal infamy; the young 
rebel citizen had eff'ected a passage over seas. At about 
this time, he certainly was absent from England; as 
certainly had embarked some capital in the Spanish and 
Portuguese trade ; and no one has questioned his narrow 
escape from the clutch of Jeffreys. The mere escape had 
been enough for other men ; — his practical, unwearying, 
versatile energy, made it the means of new adventure, 
the source of a larger experience, the incentive to a more 
active life. He had seen Spain, Germany, and France, 
before he again saw Freeman's-court, Cornhill; and, 

F 2 


wlien he returned, it was with the name he has made 
immortal. He was now Daniel Be Foe. 

Whether the change was a piece of innocent vanity 
picked up in his travels, or had any more serious motive, 
it would now he idle to inquire. By hoth names he was 
known to the last ; but his hooks, in almost every 
instance, bore that by which he is known to posterity. 

He found a strange scene in progress on his return. 
The power of the King to dispense with the laws, had 
been afSrmed by eleven out of the twelve judges ; and he 
saw this monstrous power employed to stay the as mon- 
strous persecution of Nonconformists and Dissenters. A 
licence purchased for fifty shillings had opened the prison 
doors of E-ichard Baxter ; but the sturdy lovers of freedom 
who purchased that licence, acknowledged, in the act of 
doing it, that they placed the King above the laws. It 
was a state of things in which men of the clearest sight 
had lost their way, and the steadiest were daily stumbling. 
"William Penn had gone up to Court with a deputation 
of thanks ; he was seconded by not a few Presbyterians ; 
he had the support of all those classes of Dissent whose 
idea of religion rejected altogether the alliance of civil 
government, conceiving itself to stand immeasurably 
above such control ; and, though the main Presbyterian 
body stood aloof, it was in an attitude of deference and 
fear, without dignity, without self-reliance. For a while 
De Foe looked on in silence ; and then resolvedly took 
his course. 

Of James II's sincerity there is as little doubt, as of his 
bigotry and meanness. He had the obstinate weakness 
of his father. " There goes an honest gentleman,'' said 
the Archbishop of Rheims, some year or two later, " who 
*' lost three kingdoms for a mass." His unwearied, sole 
endeavour, from the hour when he ascended the throne 
to that in which he was hurled from it, was to establish 
the Roman Catholic religion in England. When the 
Church, that had declared resistance unchristian and 
proffered him unconditional obedience, refused him a 
single benefice fat or lean, and kept his hungering Popish 
doctors outside the butteries of her Oxford colleges, — the 
Dissenters became his hope. If he could array Dissent 
against the Church, there was an entrance yet for Rome. 

De Foe.'\ warnings disregarded. 6& 

That was his passion. He had literally no other ; and, 
to balance or counteract it, he had neither breadth of 
understanding nor warmth of heart. It stood him in the 
stead, therefore, of every other faith or feeling; and, 
when the game went wholly against him, he had no 
better source of courage. He thought but of " raising 
*' the Host," and winning it that way. 

De Foe understood both the game and the gambler. 
We could name no man of the time who understood them 
so clearly as this young trader of Cornhill. He saw the 
false position of all parties; the blundering clash of 
interests, the wily complications of policy. He spoke 
with contempt of a Church that, "with its "fawning, 
" whining, canting sermons,'' had played the Judas to its 
Sovereign. He condemned the address-making Dis- 
senters, who, in their zeal for religious liberty, had 
forgotten civil freedom. He exposed the conduct of 
the King, as, in plain words, a fraudulent scheme " to 
" create a feud between Dissenters and the Establish- 
" ment, and so destroy both in the end." And with 
emphatic eloquence he exhorted the Presbyterian party, 
that now, if ever, they should make just and reasonable 
terms with the Church ; that now, if ever, should her 
assumption of superiority, her disdain of equal inter- 
course, her denial of Christian brotherhood, be effectually 
rebuked ; that between the devil sick and the devil well, 
there was a monstrous difference ; and that, failing any 
present assertion of rights and guarantees, it would be 
hopeless to expect them when she should have risen, 
once more strengthened, from her humble diet and her 
recumbent posture. 

The advice and the warning were put forth in two mas- 
terly publications. The Dissenters condemned them, and 
took every occasion to disclaim their author. De Foe 
had looked for no less. In his twenty-sixth year, he 
found himself that solitary, resolute, independent thinker, 
which, up to his seventieth year, he remained. What he 
calls the " grave, weak, good men " of the party, did not 
fail to tell him of his youth and inexperience ; but, for all 
that fell out, he had prepared himself abundantly. " He 
" that will serve men, must not promise himself that he 
" shaU not anger them. I have been exercised in this 


" usage even from a youth. I liad their reproaches when 
" I blamed their credulity and confidence in the flatteries 
" and caresses of Popery; and when I protested against 
" addresses of thanks for an illegal liberty of conscience 
" founded on a dispensing power." He was thus early 
initiated in the transcendent art of thinking and standing 


Whoso can do this manfully, will find himself least 
disposed to be alone, when any great good thing is in 
progress. De Foe would have worked with the meanest 
of the men opposed to him, in the business of the nation's 
deliverance. He knew that Dyckvelt was now in England, 
in communication with the leaders of both parties in the 
State. He had always honoured the steady-purposed 
Dutchman's master as the head of the league of the 
great European confederacy, which wanted only England 
to enable it to complete its noble designs. He believed 
it to be the duty of that prince^ connected both by birth 
and marriage with the English throne, to watch the 
course of public affairs in a country which by even the 
natural course of succession he might be called to govern. 
But he despised the Tory attempt to mix up a claim of 
legitimacy with the greater principle of elective sove- 
reignty ; and he laughed with the hottest of the Jacobites 
at the miserable warming-pan plot. He felt, and was 
the first to state it in print at the time, that the title to 
the throne was but in another form the more sacred title 
of the people to their liberties ; and so, when he heard 
of the landing at Torbay, he mounted his " rebel " horse 
once more. He was with the army of William when 
James precipitately fled ; he was at the bar of the House 
of Lords when Hampden took up the vote of non- 
allegiance to a Popish sovereign, and when the memo- 
rable resolution of the 13th of February declared that no 
King had reigned in England since the day of James's 
flight; he heard William's first speech to the Houses 
five days later ; and, " gallantly mounted and richly 
" accoutred," he was foremost in the citizen troop of 
volunteer horse, who were William and Mary's guard of 
honour at their first visit to Guildhall. 

^ Oldmixon's account is charac- old Whig libels De Foe, but a suffi- 
teristic. Of course the inveterate cient refutation of his sneers -will 

De Foe."] hero-worship. 71 

De Foe never ceased to commemorate William's bear- 
ing in these passages of his life. While the Convention 
debates were in progress, the calmly resolute Stadtholder 
had stayed, secluded, at St. James's. Sycophants sought 
access to him, counsellors would have advised with him, 
in vain. He invited no popularity, he courted no party. 
The only Tory chief who spoke with him, came back to 
tell his friends that he set *' little value on a Crown." 
The strife, the heat, the violent animosity, the doubtful 
success — all that in these celebrated debates seemed to 
affect his life and fortune — moved him not. He desired 
nothing to be concealed from him ; but he said nothing to 
his informants. This only was known : he would not hold 
his crown by the apron-strings of his wife. He would 
not reign but as an independent sovereign. " They are 
" an inconstant people, Marshal," he quietly observed to 

Here, then, in the prince who now ruled over England, 
was a man who also could stand alone. Here was a king 
for such a subject as De Foe. We may not wonder that 
the admiration conceived of him by the citizen merchant 
deepened into passion. He reverenced him, loved, and 
honoured him ; and kept as a festival in his house, even 
to the close of his life, that great day in the month 
of November which is so remarkably associated with 

be given before this Essay closes. *' who, being gallantly mounted and 

" Their Majesties," he says, de- *' richly accoutred, were led by the 

scribing the grand day at Guild- ** Earl of Monmouth, now Earl of 

hall, ' ' attended by their royal * ' Peterborough, and attended their 

" highnesses and a numerous train " majesties from Whitehall. Among 

" of nobility and gentry, went first " these troopers, who were for the 

*' to a balcony pi-epared for them at " most part Dissenters, was Daniel 

*'the Angel in Cheapside, to see *' Foe, at that time a hosier in 

"the show; which, for the great *' Freeman s-yard, Cornhill ; the 

"number of liverymen, the full "same who afterwards was pillo- 

" appearance of the militia and " ried for writing an ironical invec- 

" artillery company, the rich adorn- " tive against the Church, and did, 

" ments of the pageants, and the "after that, 'list in the service of 

"splendour and good order of the "Mr. Robert Harley, and those 

" whole proceeding, outdid all that " brethren of his who passed the 

"had been seen before upon that " Schism and Occasional bills, broke 

" occasion ; and what deserved to " the confederacy, and made a 

" be particularly mentioned, was a " shameful and ruinous peace with 

" royal regiment of volunteer horse, "France." 
" made up of the chief citizens, 


William's name. On that day, exclaimed De Foe with 
enthusiasm, he was horn ; on that day he married the 
daughter of England ; on that day he rescued the nation 
from a bondage worse than that of Egypt, a bondage of 
soul as well as bodily servitude ! Its first celebration 
was held at a country house in Tooting, which it would 
seem De Foe now occupied: and the manner of it 
afforded in itself some proof, of what we hardly need to 
be told, that the resolute, practical habits of this earnest, 
busy man, were not unattended by that genial warmth of 
nature which alone imparts strength of character such as 
his, and without which never public virtue, and rarely 
private, comes quite to its maturity. In this village, too, 
in this year of the Revolution, we find him occupied in 
erecting a meeting-house; in drawing together a Non- 
conformist congregation ; and in providing a man of 
learning for their minister. It was an object always near 
his heart. For, every new foundation of that kind went 
some way towards the rendering Dissent a permanent 
separate interest, and an independent political body, in 
the State ; and the Church's reviving heats made the task 
at once imperative and easy. Wherever intemperate 
language, and overbearing arrogant persecution, are cha- 
racteristics of the highest churchmen, should we marvel 
that sincere churchgoers turn affrighted from the flame 
they see incessantly flickering about those elevated rods, 
which they had innocently looked to for safe conductors ? 
But, in the midst of his labours and enjoyments, there 
came a stroke of evil fortune. He had married some Httle 
time before this (nothing further is known on that head, 
but that in the course of his life he had two wives, the 
first named Mary, and the second Susannah) ; and, with 
the prospect of a family growing up around him, he saw 
his fortune swept suddenly away by a large unsuccessful 
adventure. One angry creditor took out a commission 
of bankruptcy; and De Foe, submitting meanwhile to 
the rest a proposition for amicable settlement, fled from 
London. A prison paid no debts, he said. " The cruelty 
" of your laws against debtors, without distinction of 
" honest or dishonest, is the shame of your nation. It 
" is not he who cannot pay his debts, but he who can 
" and win, who must necessarily be a knave. He who 

De Foe.^ the sunday gentleman. 73 

" is unable to pay his debts at once, may yet be able to 
" pay them at leisure ; and you should not meanwhile 
" murder him by law, for such is perpetual imprison- 
" ment." So, from himself to his fellow-men, he rea- 
soned always. No wrong or wretchedness ever befell 
De Foe, which he did not with all diligence bestir him- 
self to turn to the use and profit of his kind. To what 
he now struggled with, through two desperate years, they 
mainly owed, seven years later, that many most atro- 
cious iniquities, prevailing in the bankrupt refuges of 
"Whitefriars and the Mint, were repressed by statute ;^ 
and that the small relief of William's act was at last 
reluctantly vouchsafed. He had pressed the subject 
with all his power of plain strong sense, and with 
a kind of rugged impressiveness, as of the cry of a 

His place of retreat appears to have been in Bristol. 
Doubtless he had merchant friends there. An acquaint- 
ance of his last industrious biographer, Mr. Walter Wilson, 
mentions it as an honourable tradition in his family, that 
at this time one of his Bristol ancestors had often seen 
and spoken with " the great De Foe." They called him, 
he said, the Sunday Gentleman^ because through fear of 
the bailiffs he did not dare to appear in public upon any 
other day ; while on that day he was sure to be seen, 
with a fine flowing wig, lace ruffles, and a sword by his 

^ The extent of this service could this I will add, from another of his 

only be measured for the reader by writings, an illustration of the 

a description, for which this is no ''excesses" of dishonesty to which 

fitting place, of the atrocities and their gross facilities tempted men : 

knaveries of every kind practised in ' ' Nothing was more frequent than 

those privileged haunts of desperate " for a man in full credit to buy all 

and outlawed men. Well warranted ** the goods he could lay his hands 

was the pride with Avhich he re- "on, and carry them directly from 

marked in his old age : — *' I had ** the house he bought them at into 

*' the good fortune," says he, "to " the Friars, and then send for his 

" be the first that complained of ** creditors, and laugh at them, 

"this encroaching evil in former "insult them, showing them their 

"days, and think myself not too " own goods untouched, offer them 

"vain in saying that my humble " a trifle in satisfaction, and if they 

" representations, in a day when I " refused it, bid them defiance : I 

" could be heard, of the abomina- " cannot refrain vouching this of 

" ble insolence of bankrupts, prac- " my own knowledge, since I have 

' * tised in the Mint and Friars, gave ' * more than many times been served 

" the first mortal blow to the pro- " so myself." 
" sperity of these excesses." To 




side, passing tlirough the Bristol streets/ But no time 
was lost with. De Foe, whether he was watched by baiHffs, 
or laid hold of by their betters. He wrote, in his present 
retirement, that famous Essay which went far to form 
the intellect and direct the pursuits of the most clear and 
practical genius of the succeeding century. ^' There was 
'^ also," says Benjamin Franklin, describing the little 
library in his uncle's house, " a book of De Foe's called 
" an Essay on Projects, which perhaps gave me a turn of 
" thinking that had an influence on some of the principal 
" future events of my life." 

De Foe composed the Essay here, in Bristol ; though 
it was not published until two years later. What the 

^ I give what is said by Mr. Wil- 
son, because of the oddity of its 
conclusion, and the manifest con- . 
fusion of ideas involved in it : — ■ 
* ' A friend informs me of a tradi- 
" tion in his family, that rather 
"countenances this supposition" 
(of De Foe's retreat to Bristol). 
'* He says, that one of his ancestors 
* * remembered De Foe, and some- 
*' times saw him walking in the 
*' streets of Bristol, accoutred in 
*' the fashion of the times, with a 
" fine flowing wig, lace ruffles, and 
" a sword by his side. Also, that 
'* he there obtained the name of the 
*' 'Sunday Gentleman,' because, 
*' through fear of the bailiffs, he 
** did not dare to appear in public 
*' upon any other day. The fact of 
'* De Foe's residence in Bristol, 
** either at this or some later period 
" of his life, is further corrobo- 
** rated by the following circum- 
* ' stance. About a century ago, as 
*' the same friend informs me, there 
" was a tavern in Castle-street, 
• ' known by the sign of the Red 
*' Lion, and kept by one Mark 
*' Watkins, an intelligent man, who 
" had been in better circumstances. 
*• His house was in considerable 
*' repute amongst the tradesmen of 
** Bristol, who were in the habit of 
** resorting there after dinner, for 
*' the purpose of smoking their 
** pipes, and hearing the news of 

* the day. De Foe, following the 
' custom of the times, occasionally 
' mixed with them at these seasons, 
' and was well known to the land- 
' lord under the same name of the 
' ' Sunday Gentleman.' The house 
' is still standing, and is now a 

* mere pot-house. The same Mark 
' Watkins, it is said, used to en- 
' tertain his company, in after- 

* times, with an account of a sin- 
' gular personage who made his 
' appearance in Bristol, clothed in 
' goat-skins, in which dress he was 
' in the habit of walking the streets 
' and went by the name of Alex- 
' ander Selkirk, or Eobinson Cru- 
' soe." In other words, Mr. Mark 

Watkins had lived till Robinson 
Crusoe was published, and then, in 
his old age, with his wits not the 
clearer for all those years of ale 
and pipe, was apt, in still dwelling 
on his recollections of the Sunday 
Gentleman, to confound his quon- 
dam guest with the hardly less 
veritable creation of his fancy, and 
to substitute the immortal mariner 
for the mortal De Foe ! [This sug- 
gestion has been disputed by an 
acute writer in the Times, who 
points out the possibility of the 
real Selkirk having been actually 
seen in the flesh by the jovial land- 
lord, on his being brought to Bristol 
by Captain Woodes-Rogers. I860.] 

De Foe.'\ writing the essay on projects. 75 

tendency of the age would surely be (partly by tbe 
influence of the Revolution, for commerce and religious 
freedom have ever prospered together ; partly by the 
financial necessities of the war, and the impulse thereby 
given to projects and adventure), he had promptly dis- 
cerned ; and he would have turned it to profitable uses in 
this most shrewd, wise, and memorable piece of writing. 
It suggested reforms in the System of Banking, and a plan 
for Central Country Banks ; it pointed out the enormous 
advantages of an efiicient improvement of the Public 
Eoads, as a source of public benefit and revenue; it 
recommended, for the safety of trade, a mitigation of the 
law against the honest Bankrupt, and a more effectual 
law against practised knavery ; it proposed the general 
establishment of Offices for Insurance, " in every case 
*' of risk ; " it impressively enforced the expediency of 
Friendly Societies, and of a kind of Savings Bank, among 
the poor ; and, with eloquence and clear-sightedness far 
in advance of the time, it urged the solemn necessity of a 
greater care of Lunatics, which it described as " a par- 
*' ticular rent-charge on the great family of mankind." 

A man may afford to live Alone who can make solitude 
eloquent with such designs as these. What a teeming 
life there is in them ! — what a pregnant power and 
wisdom, thrown broad-cast over the fields of the future ! 
To this banlo-upt fugitive, to this Sunday Gentleman and 
every- day earnest workman, mth no better prospect than 
a bailiff visible from his guarded window, it might not be 
ill done, as it seems to us, to transfer some part of the 
honour and glory we too freely assign to more prosperous 
actors in the busy period of the Revolution. Could we 
move to London from the side of our hero, by the four 
days' Bristol coach, it would be but a paltry scene that 
awaited us there. He has himself described it. " Is a 
" man trusted, and then made a lord ? Is he loaded 
" with honours, and put into places ? Has he the King's 
" ear ? and does he eat his bread ? Then, expect he 
" shall be one of the first to fly in his face ! " Such 
indeed, and no other, would be the scene presented to us. 
AYe should find the great Sovereign obliged to repose his 
trust where no man could trust with safety ; and the first 
rank growth of the new-gotten Liberty would greet us in 


its most repulsive forms. We should see, there, the 
double game of treachery, to the reigning and to the 
banished sovereign, played out with unscrupulous perfidy 
by rival statesmen ; Opposition and Office but varying 
the sides of treason, from WilHam to James. There 
would be the versatile Halifax, receiving a Jacobite agent 
" with open arms." There would be the dry, reserved 
Godolphin, engaged in double service, though without a 
single bribe, to his actual and to his lawful sovereign. 
There would be the soldier Churchill, paid by WilHam, yet 
taking secret gold from James, and tarnishing his im- 
perishable name with an infamous treachery to England. 
And all^ this, wholly unredeemed by the wit and litera- 
ture which graced the years of noisy faction to which it 
was the prelude. As yet. Pope was in the cradle, 
Addison and Steele were at Charter House, Henry St. 
John was reading Greek at Christ Church, and Swift was 
amanuensis in Sir William Temple's house, for his board 
and twenty pounds a-year. Nor does any sign in the 
present give hope of such a future. The laureateship of 
Dryden has fallen on Shadwell, even Garth's Dispensary 
has not yet been written, Mr. Tate and Mr. Brady are 
dividing the town, the noble accents of Locke on behalf 
of toleration are inaudible in the press, but Sir Eichard 
Blackmore prepares his Epics, and Bishop Burnet sits 
down in a terrible passion to write somebody's character 
in his History. We may be well content to return to 
Bristol, and take humbler part with the fortunes of Daniel 
De Foe. 

We have not recounted all the projects of his Essay. 
The great design of Education was embraced in it, and a 
furtherance of the interest of Letters. It proposed an 
Academy, on the plan of that founded in France by 
Eichelieu, to " encourage polite learning, establish purity 
" of style, and advance the so much neglected faculty of 
" correct language ; " — urging upon William, how worthy 
of his high destiny it would be to ecKpse Louis Quatorze 
in the peaceful arts, as much as he had eclipsed him in 
the field of battle. The proposition was revived, a few 
years later, in Prior's Carmen Seculare; and in 1711, 
Swift stole the entire notion, and almost the very language 
of De Foe, in his attempt (curious as the only printed 

De Foe.l college for education of women. 77 

piece to which, he ever, himself, attached his name) " to 
" erect some kind of society or academy, under the 
" patronage of the ministers, and protection of the Queen, 
" for correcting, enlarging, polishing, and fixing our 
" language." Nor let us omit recital of the Military 
College which De Foe would have raised ; of his project 
for the Abolition of Impressment ; and of his College for 
the Education of Women. His rare and high opinion of 
women had given him a just contempt for the female 
training of his time. He could not think, he said, that 
Grod ever made them so delicate, so glorious creatures, to 
be only stewards of our houses, our cooks, and slaves. " A 
" woman well-bred and well-taught, furnished with the 
*' additional accomplishments of knowledge and behaviour, 
" is a creature without comparison. Her society is the 
" emblem of sublimer enjoyments ; she is all softness 
" and sweetness, love, wit, and delight." This pleasant 
passage might have been written by Steele. 

His Bristol exile was now closed, by the desired 
arrangement with his creditors. They consented to com- 
pound his liabilities for five thousand pounds, and to take 
his personal security for the payment. In what way he 
discharged this claim, and what reward they had who 
trusted him, an anecdote of thirteen years' later date (set 
down in the book of an enemy) will tell. While the 
quid-nuncs of the cofi'ee-houses raged against him at the 
opening of the reign of Anne, a knot of intemperate 
assailants in one of them were suddenly interrupted by 
a person who sat at a table apart from theirs. " Come, 
" gentlemen," he said, " let us do justice. I know this 
" De Foe as well as any of you. I was one of his cre- 
" ditors ; compounded with him, and discharged him 
" fully. Years afterwards he sent for me ; and though 
" he was clearly discharged, he paid me all the remainder 
" of his debt voluntarily, and of his own accord ; and he 
" told me, that, so far as God should enable him, he 
" meant to do so with every body." The man added, 
that he had placed his signature to a paper of acknow- 
ledgment, after a long list of other names. Of many 
witnesses to the same efiect, only one other need be cited. 
Four years later, when the House of Lords had been the 
scene of a libel against him worse than that of.the cofi'ee- 

/X^ OP TH«*^^^t 


house disputants, but with, no one to interrupt or put the 
libeller to shame, De Foe himself made an unpretending 
pubhc statement, to the effect that the sums he had at 
that time discharged of his own mere motion, without 
obligation, " with a numerous family, and no help but 
" his own industry," amounted to upwards of twelve 
thousand pounds. Not as a matter of pride did he state 
this, but to intimate that he had not failed in duty. 
The discharge of law could not discharge the conscience. 
The obligation of an honest mind, he said, can never 

He did not return to Freeman's-court. He had other 
views. Some foreign merchants, by whom he was held 
in high esteem, desired to settle him as a large factor in 
Cadiz ; but he could not be induced to leave England. 
It was his secret hope to be able to serve the King. Nor 
had many months passed before we find him " concerned 
" with some eminent persons at home," in proposing 
ways and means to the government for raising money to 
supply the occasions of the war. Resulting in some sort 
from this employment, seems to have been the office 
which he held for four years (till the determination of the 
commission, 1694 — 1699), of Accountant to the Commis- 
sioners of the Glass Duty.^ And, not unnaturally, one 
may suppose it to be not distantly a part of the same 
desire to draw round him a certain association with the 
interests and fortunes of his sovereign, that he also at 
this time undertook a large adventure in the making of 
what were called Dutch pantiles. He established exten- 
sive tile-kiln and brick-kiln works at Tilbury, on the 
Thames ; where it was his boast to have given, for several 
years, employment "to more than a hundred poor 
" workmen." He took a house, too, by the side of the 
river, and amused himself with a saihng boat he kept 

^ He dedicates his Essay on Pro- " treated of, and more capable 
jects to Dal by Thomas, "not," he ''than the greatest part of man- 
tells him, " as commissioner under *' kind to distinguish and under- 
** whom I have the honour to serve '* stand them." Dal by Thomas, 
** his Majesty, nor as a friend, afterwards Sir Dalby, was a great 
** though I have great obligations of West India merchant of the time. 
" that sort also ; but as the most - I quote one of his many anec- 
*' proper judge of the subjects dotes of this river-side life, for the 

De Foe.'j river-side life. 


We fancy him now, not seldom, among the rude, 
daring men, who made the shore of the great London 
river, in those days, a place of danger and romance — 
" Friends of the sea, and foes of all that live on it." 
He knew, it is certain, the Kyds as well as the Dampiers 
of that boisterous, adventurous, bucaniering, Ocean breed. 
"With no violent effort, we now imagine him fortifying 
his own resolution, and contempt of danger, by theirs ; 
looking, through their rough and reckless souls, face to 
face with that appalling courage they inherited from 
the vikings and sea- conquerors of old ; listening to their 
risks and wanderings for a theme of robust example, 
some day, to reading landsmen ; and already, it may be, 
throwing forward his pleased and stirred imagination 
into solitary wildernesses and desert islands, 

" Placed far amid the melancholy main." 

But, for the present, he turns back with a more prac- 
tical and earnest interest to the solitary resident at St. 
James's. It will not be too much to say, that, at this 
moment, the most unpopular man in England was the 
man who had saved England. The pensioner of France, 
the murderer of Sydney and Yane, had more homage and 

sake of the fact it records in natu- " the river just at that time, and 

ral history. He is speaking of the " I believe near two pecks of them 

period at which the ant becomes *' fell into the boat. They fell so 

furnished with wings, as if it were * ' thick, that I believe my hatful 

a direction to change its habitation. * ' came down the funnel of two 

"Being thus equipped, 'they fly "chimneys in my house, which 

** away in great multitudes, seek- *' stood near the river's edge ; and 

** ing new habitations, and, not " in proportion to this quantity, 

" being well practised in the use of " they fell for the space, as I could 

"their wings, they grow weary, " observe, of half a mile in breadth 

"and, pressing one another do^vn "at least: some workmen I em- 

" by their own weiglit, when they " ployed there said they spread 

"begin to tire they fall like a " two miles, but then they fell not 

" shower. I once knew a flight of " so thick, and they continued fall- 

" these ants come over the marshes "ing for near three miles. Any 

" from Essex, in a most prodigious " body will imagine the quantity 

* ' quantity, like a black cloud. ' ' thus collected together must be 

" They began to fall about a mile " prodigious ; but, if again they 

" before they came to the Thames, "will observe the multitude of 

" and in flying over the river, they " these ant-hills, and the millions 

" fell so thick that the water was " of creatures to be seen in them, 

" covered with them. I had two " they will cease to wonder." 
" servants rowing a small boat over 


respect for lounging about with his spaniels, and feeding 
the ducks in St. James's Park, than was ever attained by 
him who had rescued and exalted two great countries, 
to whom the depressed Protestant interest throughout 
the world owed its renovated hope and strength, and 
who had gloriously disputed Europe with Louis the 

Yes ! this was the man whom the most powerful in 
England were now combined to harass and oppose ; whom 
they reproached with the very services he had rendered 
them ; whom they insulted by the baseness of their in- 
trigues against him ; in whose face, to use the striking 
expression employed by De Foe, they flung the filth of 
their own passions. " I confess," he exclaimed with an 
irrepressible and noble indignation, " my blood boils at the 
" thought of it ! Prodigious ingratitude ! Canst thou 
" not, man ! be content to be advanced without merit, 
" but thou must repine at them that have merit without 
" reward ? You helped to make him king, you helped to 
" save your country and ruin him, you helped to recover 
*' your own liberties and those of your posterity, and now 
*' you claim rewards from him ! Has he not rewarded 
" you, by sacrificing his peace, his comfort, his fortune, 
" and his country to support you ? As a prince, how great 
" he was — how splendid, how happy, how rich, how easy, 
" and how justly valued both by friends and enemies ! 
" He lived in the field glorious, feared by the enemies of 
*' his country, loved by the soldiery, having a vast inherit- 
" ance of his own, governor of a rich State, blessed with 
'' the best of consorts, and, as far as this life could give, 
" completely happy. Compare this with the gaudy crown 
" you gave him, which, had a visible scheme been laid 
" with it of all its uneasinesses, dangers, crosses, disap- 
*' pointments, and dark prospects, no wise man would 
" have taken ofi" the dunghill, or come out of jail to be 
" master of. His perils have been your safety, his labours 
" your ease, his cares your comfort, his continued harass- 
*' ing and fatigue your continued calm and tranquillity. 
*' When you sit down to eat, why have you not soldiers 
" quartered in your houses, to command your servants 
" and insult your tables ? It is because King William 
" subjected the military to the civil authority, and made 

Be Foe.'] tribute to wt:lliam the third. 81 

" the sword of justice triumph over the sword of war, 
" When you lie down at night, why do you not bolt and 
" bar your chamber, to defend the chastity of your wives 
'' and daughters from the ungoverned lust of raging 
" mercenaries ? It is because King William restored the 
" sovereignty and dominion of the laws, and made the 
" red-coat world servants to them that paid them. When 
" you receive your rents, why are not arbitrary defalca-. 
" tions made upon your tenants, arbitrary imposts laid 
" upon your commerce, and oppressive taxes levied upon 
" your estates, to support the tyranny that demands them 
" and make your bondage strong at your own expense ? 
" It is because King William re-established the essential 
" security of your properties, and put you in that happy 
" condition which few nations enjoy, of calling your souls 
" your own. How came you by a parliament, to balance 
" between the governed and the governing, but upon King 
" Wilham's exalting liberty upon the ruin of oppression ? 
" How came you to have power to abuse your deliverer, 
" but by the very deliverance he wrought for you ? He 
*' supported you in those privileges you ungratefully 
" bullied him mth, and gave you the liberty you took to 
*' insult him ! " 

Such was De Foe's living and lofty appeal against the 
assailants and detractors of our great King ; and, after 
proof and trial of nearly two centuries, how small is the 
exception to be taken to its warmth of generous partizan- 
ship ! If we see here and there a defect which was not 
visible to him, is there a greatness he commemorates 
which we do not also see, indelibly written in our English 
history? We may be far from thinking William a faiolt- 
less Prince : but what to Princes who have since reigned 
has been a plain and beaten path, was rendered so by his 
experience and example ; and our wonder should be, not 
that he stumbled, but that he was able to walk at all in 
the dark and thorny road he travelled.' He undertook 
the vexed, and till then unsolved, problem of Consti- 
tutional Government ; but he came to rule as a monarch, 
and not as a party chief. He, whom foolish bigots libel 

^ Since the date of this Essay, racter and memory of William the 
Lord Macaulay's History has paid Third, 
its magnificent tribute to the cha- 


witli their admiration, came to unite, and not to separate ; 
to tolerate, and not to persecute ; to govern one people, 
and not to raise and depress alternate classes. Of the 
many thousand churchmen who had been preaching 
passive obedience before his arrival, only four hundred 
refused to acknowledge his government of active resistance; 
but he lived to find those four hundred his most honour- 
able foes. From the very heart of the councils that sur- 
rounded his throne, arose the worst treason against him. 
His Church overthrew him in his first attempt to legislate 
in a spirit of equal religious justice. His Whig ministers 
withdrew from him what they thought an unjust preroga- 
tive, because they had given him what they thought a 
just title. His Tory opposition refused him what they 
counted a just prerogative, on the ground of what they 
held to be an unjust title. Tories joined with Whigs 
against a standing army, and Whigs joined with Tories 
against a larger toleration. "I can see no difi'erence 
" between them," said William to the elder Halifax, " but 
" that the Tories would cut my throat in the morning, 
" and the Whigs in the afternoon." 

And yet there was a difference. The Whigs would 
have given him more than that " longer day." In the 
Tory ranks there was no public character so pure as that 
of Somers ; the high-church Bishops could show at 
least no intellect equal to Burnet's ; among the Tory 
financiers, there was no such clear accomplishment and 
wit as those of Charles Montagu, the later Halifax. Nor, 
even when with all his heats of advocacy he flung him- 
self into the struggle on the King's behalf, did De Foe 
omit to remember this. In all his writings he failed not 
to enforce it. When he most grieved that there should 
be union to exact from the Deliverer of England what 
none had ever thought of exacting from her Enslavers, it 
was that men so difi'erent should compose it. When he 
supported a moderate standing army against the Whigs, 
it was with a Whig reason ; that " not the King, but the 
'' sword of England in the hand of the King, should 
*' secure peace and religious freedom." When he opposed 
a narrow civil list against the Whigs, it was with no 
Tory reason ; but because " the King had wasted his own 
" patrimony in a war undertaken for the defence of 

De FGe.~\ a meeting at hampton court. 83" 

" religion and liberty/' Nay, wlien lie opposed the King 
himself, in his Reasons against a War mith France, it was 
on a ground which enabled the Whigs, soon after, to 
direct and prosecute the mighty struggle which for ever 
broke the tyranny and supremacy of France. *'He that 
" desires we shoul-d end the war honorably, ought to 
" desire also that we begin it fairly. Natural antipathies 
" are no just ground of a war against nations; neither are 
" popular opinions : nor is every invasion of a right a 
" good reason for war, until redress has first been peaceably 
" demanded." 

If William was to find himself again reconciled to the 
Whigs, it would be by the influence of such Whiggery 
as this. Indeed, it soon became apparent to him, even 
in the midst of general treachery, by which of the traitors 
he could most ef&ciently be served; and when, being 
made aware of the Jacobite correspondences of the Whig 
Duke of Shrewsbury, he sent him a Colonel of Guards 
with the seals of office in one hand and a warrant of 
treason in the other, to give him his choice of the 
Cabinet or the Tower, he but translated, in his decisive 
fearless way, the shrewd practical counsel of Daniel 
De Foe. 

That this merchant financier and speculator, this warm, 
jret wary advocate, this sagacious politician, this homely 
earnest man of business, should early have made his 
value known to such a sovereign, we cannot doubt. It 
was not till a later service, indeed, that the private 
cabinet of William was open to him; but, before the- 
Queen's death it is certain he had access to the palace, 
and that Mary had consulted him in her favourite task 
of laying out Hampton Court gardens. It is, to us, very 
pleasing to contemplate the meeting of such a sovereign 
and such a subject, as William and De Foe. There was 
something not dissimilar in their physical aspect, as in 
their moral temperament resemblances undoubtedly ex- 
isted. The King was the elder by ten years ^ but the 
middle size, the spare figure, the hooked nose,, the sharp 
chin, the keen grey eye, the large forehead^ and grave 
appearance, were common to both. William's manner 
was cold, except in battle ; and little warmth was ascribed 
to De Foe's, unless he spoke of civil liberty. There would 

G 2 


be little recognition of Literature on either hand, yet 
nothing looked for that was not amply given. When the 
Stadtholder, in his practical way, complimented St Evre- 
mont on having been a major-general in France, the 
dandy man of letters took offence ; but, if the King merely 
spoke to De Foe as one who had borne arms with Mon- 
mouth, we will answer for it there was no disappointed 
vanity. Here, in a word, was profound good sense on 
both sides ; substantial scorn of the fine and the roman- 
tic ; impassive firmness ; a good broad, buffeting style of 
procedure ; and dauntless force of character, — a King who 
ruled by popular choice, and a Subject who represented 
that choice without a tinge of faction. 

Of how few then living but De Foe, might that last 
remark be made ! Of how few, even of the best "Whigs, 
was it true that their Whiggism found no support in 
personal spite ! At this very time, old Dryden could but 
weep when he thought of Prior and Charles Montagu 
(" for two young fellows I have always been civil to, to 
" use an old man in so cruel a manner'') : but De Foe, 
even while assailing the licence of the stage, spoke 
respectfully of Dryden, and, when condemning his 
changes of belief in later years, made admission of his 
^' extraordinary genius." At this" time Prior, so soon to 
become a Jacobite, was writing to Montagu that he had 
" faced old James and all his court, the other day, at 
" St. Cloud ; vive Guillaume I You never saw such a 
*' strange figure as the old bully is ; lean, worn, and 
^^ riv'led : " but De Foe, in the publication wherein he 
most had exalted William, had also described with his 
most manly pathos James's personal maltreatment and 

We repeat that the great sovereign would find, in such 
a spirit as this, the nearest resemblance to his own ; and, 
it may be, the best ultimate corrective of that weary im- 
patience of the Factions which made his English sove- 
reignty so hard a burden. It was better discipline, on 
the whole, than he had from his old friend Sir William 
Temple, whom, on his difficulty with the ultra-factious 
Triennial bill, he went to Moor Park to consult : when 
the wary diplomatist could but set his Irish amanuensis, 
Mr. Jonathan Swift, to draw up wise precedents for the 

De Foe,'] settlement of the revolution. 85 

monarch's quiet digestion of the bill, Whigs, Tories, and 
all ; and the monarch could but drily express his thanks 
to Mr. Swift, by teaching him to digest asparagus, against 
all precedent, by swallowing stalks and all. 

Those great questions of Triennial bill, of Treason bill, 
of Settlement Securities bill, whether dictated by wisdom 
or by faction, we need touch but lightly here. All worked 
wisely. Urged by various motives, they tended yet to a 
common end. Silently, steadily, securely, while the roar 
of dispute and discontent swelled and raged above, the 
soKd principles of the Revolution were rooting themselves 
deep in the soil below. The Censorship of the Press ex- 
pired in 1694 ; no man in the State was found to suggest 
its renewal ; and it passed away for ever. ^Yhat, before, 
it had been the interest of government to impeach, it was 
now its interest to maintain ; what the Tories formerly 
would have checked in the power of the House of Com- 
mons, their interests now compelled them to extend. All 
became committed to the principle of Resistance ; and, 
whether for party or for patriotism, Liberty was the cry 
of all. De Foe turned aside from politics, when their 
aspect seemed for a time less virulent ; and applied him- 
self to what is always of intimate connection with them, 
and of import yet more momentous, — the moral aspects of 
the time. 

We do not, however, think that he always penetrated 
with success to the heart of a moral question. He was 
somewhat obstructed, at the threshold, by the formal and 
limited points of Presbyterian breeding ; and there were 
depths in morals and in moral causes, which undoubtedly 
he never sounded. Even the more practical and earnest 
features of his character had in this respect brought their 
disadvantages ; and, on some points, stopped him short 
of that highest reach and grace of intellect, which in a 
consummate sense constitutes the ideal, and takes leave 
of the merely shrewd, solid, acute, and palpable. The 
god of reality and matter-of-fact, is not always in these 
things a divine god. But there was a manliness and 
courage well worthy of him in the general tone he took, 
and the game at which he flew. He represented in his 
Essay, the Poor Man ; and his object was to show that 
Acts of ParHament were useless, which enabled those who 


administered tliem to pass over in their own class what 
they punished in classes below them. He arraigned that 
tendency of English legislation, which afterwards passed 
into a proverb, to '^ punish men for being poor." Abun- 
dant were the penalties, he admitted, against vtcious 
practices, but, severe as they were, they were all of cob- 
web structure, in which only the small flies were caught, 
while the great ones broke through ; and he set forth a 
petition, pregnant with sense and wit, that the Stocks and 
House of Correction should be straightway abolished, 
" till the Nobility, Gentry, Justices of the Peace, and 
" Clergy, will be pleased to reform their own manners." 
He lived in an age of Justice Midases and Parson Trul- 
libers, and he assails both with singular bitterness. 
^' The Parson preaches a thundering sermon against 
^^ drunkenness, and the Justice sets my poor neighbour 
" in the 'stocks ; and I am Hke to be much the better for 
" either, when I know that this same Parson and this 
" same Justice were both drunk together but the night 
*' before." 

He knows little of De Foe, who would suspect him of 
a class-prejudice of his own in this. When, in the pre- 
sent year, the Presbyterian Lord Mayor, going in his 
robes and chain in the morning to the church, and in the 
afternoon to the Pinner's-hall meeting-house, raised a 
vehement and bitter discussion on the question of Occa- 
sional Conformity, — ardent Dissenter though he was, De 
Foe did not hesitate to take part with the Church. He 
could not see, he said, why Sir Humphrey Edwin should 
wish, like a boy upon a holiday, to display his fine clothes 
at either church or meeting-house. In a religious view, 
he thought that if it was a point of conscience with a 
Dissenter not to conform to the Established Church, he 
could not possibly receive a dispensation to do so from 
the mere fact of his holding a civic office ; in a political 
view, he held what was called Occasional Conformity 
to be a surrender of the dignity and independence of 
Dissent, likely to lead to larger and dangerous conces- 
sions ; and he maintained these opinions with great force 
of argument. He was in the right ; and the party never 
forgave him. On no question, no matter how deeply 
affecting their common interests, could the Dissenters 

De Foe.^ attack upon the stage. 87 

afterwards bring themselves to act cordially with. De Foe. 
Pious Presbyterian ministers took his moral treatises into 
their pulpits with them, cribbed from them, preached 
upon their texts, largely quoted them, but were careful 
to suppress his name. 

Another point of attack in his publications on the 
manners of his time, had reference to the Stage. "With 
whatever views we approach the consideration of this 
subject, there can be but one opinion of the existing 
condition of the theatres. They were grossly profligate. 
Since that year after the Restoration in which Mr. 
Evelyn saw the performance of Hamlet^ and had reason 
to note that " the old plays begin to disgust this refined 
" age, since his Majesty's being so long abroad,'' vice had 
made its home in the theatres. Nor had any check been 
at this time given to it. The severe tone of William Ill's 
Court had only made the contrast more extreme. Collier 
had not yet published his Short Vieic. Burnet had not 
yet Aviitten that volume of his Own Time wherein he 
described, with perhaps more truth than logic, the stage 
as the corrupter of the town, and the bad people of the 
town as the corrupters of the stage ; and proclaimed it a 
" shame to our nation and religion to see the stage so 
" reformed in France, and so polluted still in England." 
Neither was the evil merely left unrestrained ; for it had 
lately received potent assistance from the unequalled wit 
of Congreve, whose Maskwell and Lady Touchwood were 
now affecting even the ladies in the lobbies, and their 
male attendants, with a touch of shame. Nevertheless, 
while we admit his excellent intention, we cannot think 
that De Foe made any figure in the argument. He many 
times returned to it, but never with much effect. His 
objections would as freely have applied to the best-con-^ 
ducted theatre. Nor, in the special immoralities assigned, 
had he hit the point exactly. To bring women into the 
performance of female characters was a decided improve- 
ment. The morals of Charles the Second's age, though 
openly and generally worse, were, in particular respects, 
not so bad as those of James the First ; neither was the 
stage of even Wycherley and Etherege so deeply immoral 
".-*, that of Beaumont and Fletcher. 

:7e do not know if the Muses resented, in De Foe's 


case, this unfriendliness to one of their favourite haunts ; 
but, when he attempted to woo them on his account, 
they answered somewhat coyly to his call. A collection 
of Fugitive Yerses, published by Dunton, appeared at 
this time — " made/' says the eccentric bookseller, " by 
" the chief wits of the age ; namely, Mr. Motteux, Mr. 
" De Foe, Mr. Richardson, and, in particular, Mr. Tate, 
" now poet'laureat." (Swift was among them, too, but 
not important enough yet to be named.) Mr. De Foe's 
contribution was, " The character of Dr. Annesley by 
" way of Elegy ; " and we must confess, of this elegiacal 
tribute to the memory of his old Presbyterian pastor, 
that it seems to us rightly named Fugitive ; whether we 
apply the word actively to the poetry that flies away, or 
passively to that which makes the reader do the same. 
De Foe lost a part of his strength, his facility, and his 
fancy, when he wrote in verse. Yet, even in verse, he 
made a lucky, nervous hit, now and then ; and the best 
of his efforts was the True-horn Englishman. 

It appeared in 1701. It was directed against the un- 
relenting and bitter attacks from which William at that 
time more particularly suffered, on the ground of his 
birth and of the friends he had ennobled. They were no 
true-born Englishmen : that was the cant in vogue. Mr. 
Tutchin's poem of The Foreigners was on every body's 
tongue. The feeling had vented itself, in the previous 
year, on that question of the dismissal of the Dutch 
Guards, which the King took so sorely to heart. The 
same feeling had forced the Tories into power ; it had 
swelled their Tory majority with malcontent Whigs ; 
and it now threatened the fair and just rewards which 
William had offered to his deserving Generals. It is 
recorded of him at this juncture, that even his great 
silent heart at last gave way. " My Guards have done 
" for them what they could not do for themselves, and 
" they sen^i them from me." He paced his cabinet in 
uncontrollable emotion. He would have called out his 
assailants, he said, if he had been a private man. If he 
had not had the obligation of other than private duties, 
he would have resigned the crown. 

Then it was that De Foe stepped in with his timely 
service. The True-horn Englishman was a doggerel, but 

De Foe.~\ the true-born englisipian. 89 

a fine one. It was full of earnest, weighty sense ; of 
excellent history ; of the nicest knowledge of our English 
character ; and it thrust right home at the point in issue. 
It proved the undeniable truth, that, so far from being of 
pure birth and blood. Englishmen are the most mixed 
race on the earth, and owe to that very circumstance 
their distinction over other feebler races. Whilst others, 
for the lack of such replenishment, have dwindled or 
periihed, the English have been invigorated and sustained 
by it, and their best blood has owed its continual pre- 
dominance mainly to the very rudeness and strength of 
the admixture. This True-horn Englishman exposed a 
vulgar prejudice, even as it flattered a reasonable vanity ; 
and few things of a merely temporary interest have ever 
equalled its success. Its first four lines, 

* ' Wherever God erects a house of prayer, 
Tlie Devil always builds a chapel there ; 
And 'twill be found, upon examination, 
The latter has the largest congregation," — 

are all that perhaps fairly dan be said to have survived, 
of couplets that were then shouted from street to street ; 
yet it would be easy, by any dozen lines taken at random 
from those that have perished out of memory, to show not 
only its merit as a vigorous piece of writing, but the art 
with which it appealed to the common people. Such an 
example might at once be taken from the passage which 
exhibits Charles the Second, with a view to fresh supply 
against the drain upon noble blood occasioned by the 
Civil ^7ars, contributing himself six dukes to the peerage 
of England — 

* ' And carefully repeoj)ling us again, 
Throughout his lazy, long, lascivious reign ; 
French cooks,' Scotch pedlars, and Italian whores, 
Were all made lords or lords' progenitors. 
Beggars and bastards by his new creation 
Still multiplied the peerage of the nation. 
Who will be all, ere one short age runs o'er, 
As true-born lords as those we had before ; 
Then, with true English pride, they may contemn 
Schomberg and Portland, new-made noblemen ! " 

The instant popularity of the satire was astonishingly 
great. Besides the nine editions of which De Foe himself 


received tlie profit, upwards of twelve editions were pirated, 
printed, and sold, in defiance of his interdict. More than 
eighty thousand copies, we are told, were thus disposed of 
in the streets alone. But it is more important to have to 
remark, that it destroyed the cant against which it was 
directed. " Nothing was more frequent in our mouths 
" before that ; nothing so universally blushed for and 
" laughed at, since. Whereas, before, you had it in the 
" best writers, and in the most florid speeches, before the 
" most august assemblies, upon the most solemn occasions,'' 
— Now, without a blush or a laugh, you never heard it 

It may be doubted if this great King had ever so 
deeply felt a service. His opportunities were few. De 
Foe has recorded how he was sent for to the palace, on 
the special occasion of his book; with what kindness 
he was received ; " how employed ; and how, above his 
" capacity of deserving, rewarded." His free access to 
William's cabinet never ceased from this time. There 
are statements, throughout his writings, of the many 
points of public policy he had been permitted frankly to 
discuss with the sovereign. On the agitated questions 
of the Partition Treaties, he was many times consulted ; 
and there was one grand theme, nobly characteristic 
of the minds of both, often recurred to in these inter- 
views. It was the Union of Scotland with England. 
" It shall be done," said WilHam ; " but not yet." 
Other things more nearly and closely pressed him then. 

The rapid growth and march of the Revolution might 
be aptly measured by the incidents and disputes of the 
last year of his reign. They turned solely on the power 
claimed by the lower house of legislature. In several 
ably- written pamphlets, and particularly in a Letter dis- 
tinguished for its plain and nervous diction, and in which 
the grounds of popular representation were so happily 
condensed and clearly stated, that it has been a text-book 
of political disputants from the days of the expulsion of 
Walpole and of Wilkes to those of the Reform Bill,' — 

^ This remarkable pamphlet in over the Delegated authority, and 

defence of Popular Rights, may be remains still, as it was when first 

briefly described as a demonstration written, the most able, plain, and 

of the predominance of the Original courageous exposition in our lau- 

Be Foe ] defence of popular rights. 91 

De Foe impugned the full extent of the claim on tlie 
ground of a non- representation of the people ; but a 
power had lately arisen, within the House itself, indicative 

guage, of the doctrine on wliich our 
own and all free political consti- 
tutions rest. Its argument proceeds 
from four general propositions, 
which are worked out with masterly 
power and clearness. The first is, 
That all government is contrived 
and instituted by the consent and 
for the mutual benefit and protec- 
tion of the governed. The second, 
That its constituent members, 
whether King, Lords or Commons, 
if they invert the great end of their 
institution, cease to be, and sur- 
render their power to the source 
from which it proceeded. The 
third, That no collective or repre- 
sentative body of men whatsoever, 
in matters of politics or religion, 
have been infallible. And the 
fourth, That reason is the test and 
touchstone of laws, which cease to 
be binding, and become void, when 
contradictory to reason. Of which 
propositions the close and insepa- 
rable interdependence is shown, hj 
exhibiting the respective relations 
and obligations of the various autho- 
rities of the State to each other, and 
to their supreme head ; it being the 
grand purpose of the argument to 
demonstrate the sole safety and 
efficacy of the latter in the final 
resort. "For, notwithstanding all 
* ' the beauty of our constitution, 
"and the exact symmetry of its 
" parts, about which some have 
*' been so very eloquent, this noble, 
" well-contrived system has been 
*' overwhelmed, the government has 
*' been inverted, the people's liber- 
*' ties have been trampled on, 
'* and parliaments have been ren- 
** dered useless and insignificant. 
" And what has restored us ? The 
" last resort has been to the people, 
" Vox Dei has been found there, 
*' not in the representatives, but in 
■*' their original, the represented." 
And let no man dread such last 
resort, wisely adds De Foe. For 

what say the practical results of 
history as to the unvarying political 
tendencies of the English people ? 
" The genius of this nation has 
" always appeared to tend to a 
"limited monarchy; and having 
" had, in the late Revolution, a 
*' full and interrupted liberty to 
" cast themselves into what form 
" of government they pleased, there 
'* was not discovered the least in- 
'* clination in any party to a com- 
" mon wealth, though the treatment 
" they met with from their last two 
" kings had all in it that could be; 
*' to put them out of love with 
" monarchy. A commonwealth 
" can never be introduced but by 
" such invasions of right as must 
" make our constituted government 
'* impracticable. C^he reason is, 
" because men never willingly 
* ' change for the worse ; and the 
" people of England enjoy more 
" freedom in our regal, than any 
* ' people in the world can do in a 
" popular government.") But were 
it otherwise, not the less must this 
thorough Englishman uphold the 
superiority of the original power. 
Before there was such a thing as a 
Constitution, there must have been 
a People ; and, as the end to which 
authority is delegated can never be 
other than the public good, upon 
the unquestioned assertion of all 
men's right to the government of 
themselves must also rest the most 
absolute and express confirmation 
that such delegated authority can 
receive. Addressing the King, he 
says, "It is not the least extra- 
" ordinary attribute of your ma- 
" jesty's character, that, as you are 
" king of your people, so you are 
" the people's king ; a title, as it is 
" the most glorious, so it is the 
" most indisputable in the world. 
" Your majesty, among all the 
* ' blessings of your reign, has re- 
'* stored this as the best of all our 




of the changed relations of the Government of England, 
mser in effect than the wisdom of Somers, and more 
cunning than the cunning of Sunderland. " The Tories," 
said the latter to William, '' are better speakers than the 
" Whigs in the House of Commons^ It had arisen into 
a peculiar art — this art of oratory — there. Confessedly- 
one of the most influential of its members was he whom 
the last three parliaments of William elected for their 
Speaker ; yet no man would have listened patiently for 
five minutes to Robert Harley, anywhere but in the 
House of Commons. There, he was supreme. The 
country gentlemen voted for him, though they remem- 
bered that his family went to a meeting- house. The 
younger members put forth their most able and graceful 
representative to honour him, when Henry St. John 
seconded his third nomination. And posterity itself had 
cause to be grateful to him, when, employing for once this 
influence in its service, he joined Tory and Whig in a 
common demand for the best securities of the Act of 
Settlement. It was not genius, it was not eloquence, it 

" enjoyments— tlie full liberty of 
" Original Right ; and your majesty 
*' knows too well the nature of go- 
" vernment to think it at all the 
*' less honourable, or the more pre- 
" carious, for being devolved from, 
' ' and centred in, the consent of 
'• your people." To the Lords, he 
conceded their place as an indepen- 
dent branch of the Constitution, and 
then tells them : "The rest of the 
" freeholders have originally a right 
•' to sit there with you ; but, being 
" too numerous a body, they have 
" long since agreed that whenever 
*' the King thinks fit to advise with 
" his people, they will choose a cer- 
** tain few out of their great body 
" to meet together with your Lord- 
*' ships. Here is the original of 
* ' parliaments ; and, when thrones 
*' become vacant, to this original 
" all power of course returns, as 
*' was the case at the Revolution." 
To the House of Commons, finally, 
as the representatives of the col- 
lected body of the people, De Foe 

turns ; and with his very striking 
address to them, may be closed this 
imperfect sketch of a very important 
and powerful political tract : "To 
" you they have trusted, jointly 
' ' with the King and the Lords, the 
" power of making laws, raising 
" taxes, and impeaching criminals ; 
" but it is in the name of all the 
' ' Commons of England, whose re- 
" presentatives you are. All this 
' ' is not said to lessen your autho- 
' ' rity, which cannot be the interest 
" of any English ireeholder : but if 
* ' you are dissolved (for you are not 
*' immortal), or if you are deceived 
" (for you are not infallible), it was 
" never supposed, till very lately, 
" that all power dies with you. 
" You may die, but the People re- 
* ' main ; you may be dissolved, and 
"all immediate right may cease; 
" power may have its intervals, and 
" crowns their interregnum : but 
" Original Power endures to the 
" same eternity as the world eu- 
" dures." 

De Fce,~\ kentish petition and legion memorial. 93 

was not statesmansliip, that had given Harley this extra- 
ordinary power. It was House of Commons tact. It 
was a thing born of the Eevolution ; and of which the 
aim and tendency, through whatever immediate effects, 
was in the end to strengthen and advance the Revolution. 
For, it rested on the largest principles, even while it ap- 
pealed to the meanest passions. 

There was something very striking in the notion of 
De Foe, to bring it suddenly face to face with those 
higher principles ; and this he did in his Kentish Petition 
and Legion Memorial. In all the histories which relate 
the Tory impeachment of AYilliam^s four Whig lords, 
will be found that counter-impeachment of the House 
of Commons itself, preferred in the name of the entire 
population of England, and comprising fifteen articles of 
treason against their authority. It was creating a People, 
it is true, before the people had declared themselves; 
but it was done with the characteristic reality of genius, 
and had a startling effect. As Harley passed into the 
House, a man muffled in a cloak placed the Memorial in 
his hands. The Speaker knew De Foe's person, and is 
said by the latter to have recognised him ; but he kept 
his counsel. 

No one has doubted, that in the excitement of the 
debates that followed, the Whigs and William recovered 
much lost ground ; and the coffee-houses began to talk 
mightily of a pamphlet written by Temple's quondam 
secretary, now the Reverend Jonathan Swift, parish priest 
and vicar of Laracor, wherein Lord Portland figured as 
Phocion, Lord Oxford as Themistocles, Lord Halifax as 
Pericles, and Lord Somers as Aristides. The subsequent 
declaration of war against France still further cheered 
and consoled the King. He sent for De Foe, received 
from him a scheme for opening new " channels of trade " 
in connection with the Avar, and assigned to him a main 
part in its execution.^ He felt that he ruled at last, 

1 The drift of this scheme was ing account of it : *'I gave you an 

for directing such operations against " instance of a proposal which 1 had 

the Spanish possessions in the West * ' the honour to lay before his late 

Indies as might open new channels *' Majesty, at the beginning of the 

of trade, and render the war self- * ' last war, for the sending a strong 

supporting. Writing about it some * ' fleet to the Havannah, to seize 

years later, De Foe gives the follow- '* that part of the island in which 


and was probably never so reconciled to his adopted 
kingdom. But, in tbe midst of grand designs and 
hopes, he fell from his horse in hunting, sickened for a 
month, and died. 

There are many Mock Mourners at royal deaths, and, 
in a poem with that title, De Foe would have saved his 
hero's memory from them. He claimed for him nobler 
homage than such tributes raise, " to damn their former 
" follies by their praise. "*' He told what these mourners 
were, while yet their living King appeared, " and what 
" they knew they merited, they feared." He described 
what has since become matter of history, that toast of 
" William's horse," which had lightened all their festi- 
vities since his accident : — " 'twould lessen much our 
" woe, had Sorrel stumbled thirteen years ago." And 
he closed with eloquent mention of the heroic death 
which Burnet's relation made so distasteful to High 
Church bigotry : 

*' No conscious guilt disturb'd his royal breast, 
Calm as the regions of eternal rest." 

The sincerity of the grief of De Foe had in this work 
lifted his verse to a higher and firmer tone. It was a 
heartfelt sorrow. There was no speeding the going, wel- 
coming the coming sovereign, for De Foe. Nothing 
could replace, nothing too gratefully remember, the past. 
It was his pride always after to avouch, that to have been 
" trusted, esteemed, and, much more than I deserved, 
" valued by the best king England ever saw," was more 
than a compensation for what inferior men could inflict 
upon him. When, in later years, Lord Haversham de- 
nounced him in the House of Lords as a mean and mer- 
cenary writer, he told that ungrateful servant of King 

" it is situated, and from thence to ** been enabled to support this war. 

** seize and secure the possession of "But the King died, in whose 

*' at least the coast, if not by coiise- " hands this glorious scheme was in 

*' quence the Terra Fir ma, of the *' a fair way of being concerted, 

** empire of Mexico, and thereby *' and which, had it gone on, I had 

** entirely cut off the Spanish com- *' had the honour to have been not 

"merce and the return of their "the first proposer only, but to 

"Plate fleets; by the immense " have had some share in the per- 

* ' riches whereof, and by which * ' formance." 
* ' only, both France and Spain have 

De FoeJ] character of queen anne. 95 

William, that if lie should say he had the honour to know 
something from his majesty, and to transact something 
for him, which he would not have trusted Lord Ha- 
versham with, perhaps there might he more truth than 
modesty in it. Still, to the very last, it was his theme. 
'' I never forget his goodness to me," he said, when his 
own life was wearing to its close. " It was my honour 
'^ and advantage to call him master as well as sovereign. 
" I never patiently heard his memory slighted, nor ever 
" can do so. Had he lived, he would never have suffered 
" me to he treated as I have heen in this world." Aye ! 
good, brave, Daniel De Foe ! There is indeed but sorry 
treatment in store for you. 

The accession of Anne was the signal for Tory re- 
joicings. She was thirty-seven, and her character was 
formed and known. It was a compound of weakness and 
of bigotry, but in some sort these availed to counteract 
each other. Devotion to a High Church principle was 
needful to her fearful conscience ; but reliance on a 
woman-favourite was needful to her feeble mind. She 
found Marlborough and Godolphin in office, where they 
had been placed by their common kinsman, Sunderland ; 
and she raised Godolphin to the post of Lord Treasurer, 
and made Marlborough Captain-General. Even if she had 
not known them to be opponents of the Whigs, she would 
yet have done this ; for she had been some years under the 
influence of Marlborough's strong-minded wife, and that 
influence availed to retain the same advisers when she 
found them converted into what they had opposed. The 
spirit of The Great lives after them ; and this weak, 
superstitious, " good sort of woman," little thought, when 
she uttered with so much enjoyment the slighting allu- 
sions to William in her first speech from the throne, that 
the legacy of foreign administration left by that high- 
minded sovereign would speedily transform the Tories, 
then standing by her side, into undeniable earnest Whigs.' 

^ The Commons replied to the signally retrieved the ancient honour 

address in the same strain, and and glory of the English nation, 

congratulated her Majesty on the Very felicitous were the lines of the 

wisdom of her councils and the sue- satire : 

cess of her arms, by which she had "Pacific Admirals, to save the fleet, 


At first all promised well for the most high-flpng 
Churclimen. Jacobites came in with proffered oaths of 
allegiance ; the " landed interest'' rubbed its hands with 
anticipation of discountenance to trade ; tantivy parsons 
cried their loudest halloo against Dissent ; the martyr- 
dom of Charles became the incessant theme of pulpits, 
for comparison of the martyr to the Saviour ; and, by way 
of significant hint of the royal sanctity, and the return of 
the throne to a more lineal succession, the gift of the royal 
touch was solemnly revived. Nor did the feeling explode 
in mere talk, or pass without a practical seconding. The 
Ministry introduced a bill against Occasional Conformity, 
the drift of which was to disqualify Dissenters from all 
civil employments ; and though the ministers themselves 
were indifferent to it, court bigotry pressed it so hard, 
that even the Queen's husband, himself an Occasional 
Conformist, was driven to vote for it. '*My heart is vid 
" you," he said to Lord Wharton, as he divided against 
him. It was a remark, if taken in connexion with the 
vote, very chommingly foreign to the purpose. 

The bill, passed by the Tory House of Commons 
(where Harley had again been chosen Speaker), was 
defeated by the Whig lords, to the great comfort of its 
authors, the ministry. But the common people, having 
begun their revel of High Church excitement, were not 
to be balked so easily. They pulled down a few dissent- 
ing chapels ; sang High Church songs in the streets ; 
insulted known Dissenters as they passed along ; and in 
other ways orthodoxly amused themselves. Swift enjoyed 
the excitement, and in his laughing way told Stella that so 
universal was it, he observed the dogs in the streets to be 
much more contumelious and quarrelsome than usual; 
and, the very night the bill went up to the Lords, a com- 
mittee of Whig and Tory cats had been having a very 
warm and loud debate on the roof of his house. But 
it seemed to De Foe a Kttle more serious. On personal 
grounds he did not care for the bill, its acceptance or its 
rejection : but its political tendency was unsafe ; it was 
designed as an act of oppression ; the spirit aroused was 

Shall fly from conquest, and shall William's cost, 

conquest meet. And honour be retrieved before 

Commanders shall be praised at 'tis lost ! " 

De Foe.'] sacheverell's bloody flag. 97 

dangerous ; and the attitude taken by Dissenters wanted 
both dignity and courage. Nor let it be supposed, while 
he still looked doubtingly on, that he had any personal 
reason which would not strongly have withheld him from 
the fray. He had now six children ; his affairs were 
again thriving; the works at Tilbury had reasonably 
prospered ; and passing judgment, by the world's most 
favoured tests, on the house to which he had lately re- 
moved at Hackney, on the style in which he lived there, 
and on the company he kept, it must be said that Daniel 
De Foe was at this time most " respectable " and well to 
do. He kept his coach and visited county members.* 
But, as the popular rage continued, he waived considera- 
tions of prudence in his determination to resist it. There 
was a foul-mouthed Oxford preacher named Sacheverell, 
who had lately announced from his pulpit to that intelli- 
gent University, that he could not be a true son of the 
Church who did not lift up her banner against the Dis- 
senters, who did not hang out the "bloody flag and 
" banner of defiance ; " and this sermon was selling for 
twopence in the streets. It determined him, as he tells us, 
to delay no longer. He would make an effort to stay the 
plague. And he wrote and published his Shortest Way 
with the Dissenters — without his name, of course. 

Its drift was to personate the opinions and style of the 
most furious of the high-flying Church party, and to set 
forth, with perfect gravity and earnestness, the extreme of 
the ferocious intolerance to which their views and wishes 
tended. "We can conceive nothing so seasonable, or in 
the execution so inimitably real. We doubt if a finer 
specimen of serious irony exists in the language. In the 
only effective mode, it stole a march on the blind bigotry 
of the one party, and on the torpid dulness of the other ; 
for, to have spoken to either in a graver tone, would have 
called forth a laugh or a stare. Only discovery could 
effect prevention. A mine must be sprung, to show the 
combustibles in use, and the ruin and disaster they were 
fraught with. " 'Tis in vain," said the Shortest Way, " to 

^ He makes frequent mention of mansion at Steyning appears to 
one of the Sussex members, Sir hare been always at the service of 
John Fagg, the hospitality of whose De Foe. 


*' trifle in this matter. We can never enjoy a settled 
" uninterrupted union in this nation, till the spirit of 
" Whiggism, Faction, and Schism, is melted down like 
*' the old money. Here is the opportunity to secure the 
" Church and destroy her enemies. I do not prescribe 
" fire and faggot, but Delenda est Carthago. They are to 
" be rooted out of this nation, if ever we will live in peace 
" or serve God. The light foolish handling of them 
" by fines is their glory and advantage. If the gallows 
" instead of the compter, and the galleys instead of the 
" fines, were the reward of going to a conventicle, there 
" would not be so many sufferers. The spirit of martyr- 
" dom is over. They that will go to church to be chosen 
" sheriffs and mayors, would go to forty churches rather 
" than be hanged.'* 

If a justification of this masterly pamphlet were needed, 
would it not be strikingly visible in the existence of a 
state of society wherein such arguments as these could be 
taken to have grave intention ? Gravely, they tcere so 
taken. Sluggish, timid, cowardly Dissenters were struck 
with fear ; rabid High Churchmen shouted approval. A 
Cambridge Fellow wrote to thank his bookseller for 
having sent him so excellent a treatise, it being, next to 
the Holy Bible and the Sacred Comments, the most 
valuable he had ever seen. But then came a whisper of 
its true intention, and the note suddenly changed. There 
arose a clamour for discovery and punishment of the 
writer, unequalled in its vehemence and intensity. The 
very thing that made them eager and exulting to have 
the thing said, made them shrink in mortification and 
shame from the fact of his saying it. To the lasting dis- 
grace of the Dissenters, they joined the cry. They took 
revenge for their own dulness. That the writer was De 
Foe was now generally known ; and they owed his wit no 
favour. It had troubled them too often before the time. 
They preferred to wait until Sacheverell's bloody flag 
should be hoisted in reality : such a pamphlet, meanwhile, 
was a scurrilous irreverence to religion and authority, and 
they would have none of it. Yet, bad as were the conse- 
quences involved in their desertion of him, he had nothing 
more harsh than a smile for their stupidity. " All the 
** fault I can find in myself as to these people is, that 

De Foe,"] reward offered for the author. 99 

" when I had drawn the picture, I did not, like the Dutch- 
*' man with his man and bear, write underneath, * This is 
'^ * the man, and this is the bear,' lest the people should 
" mistake me. Having, in a compliment to their judg- 
" ment, shunned so sharp a reflection upon their senses, 
" I have left them at liberty to treat me like one that put 
" a value upon their penetration at the expense of my 
*' own.'* And so indeed they treated him ! A worthy 
colonel of the party said, " he'd undertake to be hangman, 
" rather than the author of the Shortest Way should want 
" a pass out of the world ; " and a self-denying chairman 
of one of the foremost dissenters' clubs went to such 
alarming lengths with his zeal, as to protest that if he 
could find the libeller he would deliver him up without 
the reward. For, Government had now offered a reward 
of fifty pounds for the apprehension of Daniel De Foe. 

There is no doubt that the moderate chiefs were dis- 
inclined to so extreme a step : but they were weak at this 
time. Lord Nottingham had not yet been displaced; 
there was a Tory House of Commons, which not even 
Harley's tact could always manage, and by which the 
libel had been voted to the hangman; nor had Godol- 
phin's reluctance availed against the wish of the Court, 
that office should be given to the member most eminent 
for opposition to the late King while he lived, and for 
insults to his memory. De Foe had little chance ; and 
Nottingham, a sincere bigot, took the task of hunting 
him down. The proclamation in the London Gazette 
described him as " a middle-sized, spare man, about forty 
*' years old, of a brown complexion, and dark-brown 
'^ coloured hair, but wears a wig ; a hooked nose, a sharp 
" chin, grey eyes, and a large mole near his mouth ; 
*' owner of the brick and pantile works near Tilbury Fort, 
*' in Essex." ' But it was not immediately successful. 

^ Here is the exact advertisement: ** but wears a wig ; a hooked nose, a 

— "Whereas Daniel De Foe, alias " shnrp chin, grey eyes, and a large 

" De Fooe, is charged with writing " mole near his mouth ; was born 

" a scandalous and seditious pam- "in London, and for many years 

' ' phlet, entitled, The Shortest Way ' ' was a hose-factor, in Freeman's 

" with the Dissenters : he is a mid- " Yard in Cornhill, and now is 

"die-sized spare man, about forty "owner of the brick and pantile 

" years old, of a brown complexion, "works, near Tilbury Fort, in 

"and dark-brown coloured hair, "Essex: whoever shall discover 

u 2 


Warrants then threw into custody the printer and the 
bookseller ; and De Foe concealed himself no longer. He 
came forth, as he says, to brave the storm. He would 
not have others ruined by mistake for him. 

He stood in the Old Bailey dock in July 1703. Harcourt, 
who before had carried up the impeachment of Somers, and 
was afterwards counsel for Sacheverell, prosecuted. " A 
" man without shame," says Speaker Onslow, " but very 
" able." It was his doctrine, that he ought to prosecute 
every man who should assert any power in the people to 
Oall their governors to account, — taking this to be a right 
corollary from the law of libel, then undoubtedly existing, 
that no man might publish any piece reflecting on the 
government, or even upon the capacity and fitness of any 
one employed in it. The Revolution had not altered 
that law ; and it was, in effect, the direct source of the 
profligate and most prolific personal libels of the age we 
are entering on. For, of course, Harcourt's policy was 
found impracticable, and retaliation was substituted for 
it, — as the denial of all liberty in theory will commonly 
produce extreme licentiousness in practice. We do not 
know who defended De Foe ; ' but he seems to have been 

** the said Daniel De Foe to one of *' was ironically said in that book 

*' her Majesty's principal secretaries " was not seriously, as well as with 

" of state, or any of her Majesty's " a malicious earnest, published in 

*' justices of peace, so as he may be '* print with impunity a hundred 

" apprehended, sli^ll have a reward "times before and since? And 

" of fifty pounds, which her Ma- " whether, therefore, to say that 

*' jesty has ordered immediately to " this was a crime, flies so much in 

" be paid upon such discovery." " the face of the churchmen, that 

^ Some idea of the speech for the *' it upbraids them with blowing 

prosecution is derivable from the *' up their own cause, and ruining 

allusions made to it by De Foe him- *' their friends by a method they at 

self in after years. Harcourt's posi- " the same time condemn in others, 

tion throughout was, that it was an ** Upon this foot, I again say, the 

atrocious libel on churchmen to con- *' book was just, its design fair, and 

ceive them capable of uttering such " all the facts charged upon them 

abominable sentiments. "To hear "very true." Then came the 

" of a gentleman," says De Foe, Sacheverell sermon at St. Paul's, 

writing during his subsequent ira- transcending all that De Foe had 

prisonment, "telling me 7'Ae »SAor<- invented as apposite to such pulpit 

" est ^ay was paving the way over agitators ; and thus he commented 

** the skulls of churchmen, and it upon it : — "Where were the brains 

"is a crime to justify it! That " of wise Sir Simon Harcourt, when, 

" should have been said by no man, " according to his custom, bullying 

"but him who could first answer "the author then at the bai-, he 

* ' this question : Whether ail that ' ' cried, ' Oh, but he would insinu- 

2)^ Foe.^ WIT DULY REWARDED. 101 

ill defended. He was advised to admit the libel, on a 
loose assurance in the court that a high influence was not 
indisposed to protect him. He was declared guilty ; and 
was sentenced to pay a fine of two hundred marks, to 
stand three times in the pillory, to be imprisoned during 
the Queen's pleasure, and to find sureties for good beha- 
viour for seven years. Alas, for the fate of Wit in this 
world ! De Foe was taken back to Newgate, and told to 
prepare for the pillory. The high influence whispered 
about, made no sign now. But some years after, when 
it was her interest to say it, the Queen condescended to 
say, that " she left all that matter to a certain person, and 
" did not think he would have used Mr. De Foe in such 
" manner." 

But what was the manner to Mr. De Foe ? He went 
to the pillory, as in those after years he went to the 
palace, with the same quiet temper. In truth, writers 
and thinkers lived nearer to it, then, than we can well 
fancy possible now. It had played no ignominious part 
in the grand age passed away, Noble hearts had been 
tried and tempered iu it. Daily had been elevated in it, 
mental independence, manly self-reliance, robust athletic 
endurance. All from within that has undying worth, it 

*' ate that the Churchmen were for "not heard how eagerly they 

*' these barbarous ways with the " granted the suggestion, by es- 

" Dissenters,' and therefore it was ** pousing the proposal, and by ac- 

*• a mighty crime ! And now, good " knowledging it was the way they 

*' Sir Simon, whose honesty and " desired. Now, here is another 

*' modesty were born together, — '* test put upon the world of this 

• ' you see, sir, the wrong done them ; ' ' true High Church principle. De- 

** for this very man, whom you so " struction of Dissenters is proved 

*' impudently said was then abused, ** to be no more persecution than 

" has doomed them all to the devil " hanging of highwaymen. This is 

*'and his angels, declares they " saying in earnest what the author 

'* ought to be prosecuted for high *' of The Shortest Way said in jest ; 

" treason, and tells us that every " this is owning that to the sun, 

*' Dissenter from the Church is a *' which Sir Simon Harcourt said 

** Traitor to the State." Again he "before was a crime to suggest, 

says, remarking on the same sub- *' Now the blessed days are come 

ject : "When Sir Simon Harcourt "that the gi'eat truth is owned 

"aggravated it against the author, "barefaced; and the party that 

" that he designed the book to have " ruined and abused the author for 

**the world believe the Church of "telling the truth out of season, 

" England would have the Dissent- " makes no scruple of taking this 

" ers thus used, 'tis presumed, " as a proper season to tell the same 

" without reflection upon that gen- " truth in their own way." 
*' tleman s penetration, that he had 


had, in those times, but the more plainly exposed to public 
gaze from without. The only Archbishop that De Foe 
ever truly reverenced, Robert Leighton, was the son of 
a man who, in it, had been tortured and mutilated ; and 
the saintly character of that Prelate was even less saintly 
than his father's. A Presbyterian's first thought would 
be of these things ; and De Foe's preparation for the 
pillory was to fortify his honest dignity by remembrance 
of them, in the most nervous and pointed verses he had 
ever written. 

' Hail, Hieroglyphic State machine, 
Contriv'd to punish Fancy in ; 
Men that are men, in thee can feel no pain, 
And all thy insignificants disdain. 
Contempt, that false new word for shame, 
Is, without crime, an empty name. 
A Shadow to amuse mankind, 
But ne'er to fright the wise or well-fix'd mind. 
Virtue despises human scorn ! 

Even the learned Selden saw 

A prospect of thee through the law. 

He had thy lofty pinnacles in view, 

But so much honour never was thy due," &c. 

The entire Ode is in truth excellent. 

On the 29th of July, 1703, it appeared publicly, in 
twenty-four quarto pages, as A Hymn to the Pillory, by 
Daniel De Foe ; and on that day, we are informed by the 
Lojidon Gazette, Daniel De Foe himself stood in the 
pillory before the Royal Exchange in Cornhill ; on the 
day following, near the Conduit in Cheapside ; and on 
the 31st, at Temple-bar. A large crowd had assembled 
to provide themselves sport ; but the pillory they most 
enjoyed was not of the Government's erecting. Unex- 
pectedly they saw the Law pilloried, and the Ministers 
of State,— the dulness which could not comprehend, and 
the malice which on that account would punish, a popular 
champion. They veered quickly round. Other missiles 
than were wont to greet a pillory reached De Foe ; and 
shouts of a different temper. His health was drunk' 

^ A Tory satirist of the day thus ** All round him Philistines adoring 
refers to that circumstance : stand, 

De Foe.'\ behaviour of the people. lOeS 

with acclamations as lie stood there ; and nothing harder 
than a flower was flung at him. "The people were 
" expected to treat me very ill," he said ; *' but it was 
" not so. On the contrary, they were with me ; wished 
" those who had set me there were placed in my room ; 
" and expressed their afi'ections by loud shouts and accla- 
" mations when I was taken down." We are told that 
garlands covered the platform where he stood ; that he 
saw the Hymn passed from hand to hand ; and that, 
what it so calmly had said, he heard far less calmly 
repeated from angry groups that stood below. 

" Tell them the men that placed him here 
Are scandals to the times ; 
Are at a loss to find his guilt, • 
And can't commit his crimes." 

A witness who was present, in short, and an undeniably 
good one, being himself a noted Tory libeller of the day 
(Ned Ward), frankly admits this " lofty Hymn to the 
" wooden rufi"" to have been "to the law a counter-cuff; 
" and truly, without Whiggish flattery, a plain assault 
" and downright battery." Had not De Foe established 
his right, then, to stand there "Unabashed?" Un- 
abashed by, and unabated in his contempt for. Tyranny 
and Dulness, was he not now entitled to return fearless 
— not "earless," readers of the Danciad!^ — to his 
appointed home in Newgate ? 

And keep their Dagon safe from been not a little of the mere fine 

Israel's hand. gentleman in the attack. De Foe 

They, dirt themselves, protected him was not in "the circles," and did 

from filth, not write always according to the 

And for the faction's money drank " rules," and it was to be under- 

his health." stood that the fashionable poet kept 

,,,T,i 1-ij.j vm no such unfinished company. Even 

1 " Earless on hieh stood unabashd ,, , , ,. j "^ r t 

P^ -p, ° the paternal hnen-drapery of Lom- 

A J m X 1 '• x\ i. r i.u bard Street may have rendered him 

And Tutchm flagrant from the ., .,i. '' . u i *. i- ..u 

, , °„ the more willing to back out of the 

scourge below. hosierly neighbourhood of Cornhill. 

A most ungenerous attack, and It is, however, likewise to be added 

very wantonly made. It is possible, that Pope, notwithstanding the real 

indeed, that in addition to his grudge liberality of his religious opinions, 

against the assailant of Swift, Pope if not by very reason of it, could 

may have resented De Foe's attack hardly have liked the bitterness of 

on Harcourt, the attorney-general, De Foe's attacks ou his kinsfolk the 

who was an intimate friend of his ; Catholics. 
but I am afraid there must also have 


A home of no unwise experience to the wise ohserver. 
A scene of no unromantic aspect to the minute and careful 
painter. It is a common reproach to the memory of 
WilHam of Orange, that literature and art found no 
encouragement in him ; hut let us rememher that Daniel 
De Foe and David Teniers acknowledged him for their 
warmest friend. There is higher art, and higher litera- 
ture ; hut, within the field selected by both, there is none 
more exact and true. The war of politics, however, has 
not yet released our English Teniers. He has not leisure 
yet for the more peaceful "art of roguery." It is to 
come with the decline of life ; when that which mainly 
he had struggled for was won, and the prize had passed 
to others. 

In the "Writings he now rapidly sent forth from New- 
gate, we think we see something of what we may call the 
impatient restlessness of martyrdom. He is more eager, 
than was perhaps desirable, to proclaim what he has 
done, and what he will do. We can fancy, if we may 
so express it, a sort of reasonable dislike somewhat un- 
reasonably conceived against him now, by the young men 
of letters and incipient wits, the Mr. Popes and the 
gentlemen at Will's, with whom the world was going 
easily. His utmost address might seem to have some 
offence in it; his utmost liberality to contain some 
bigotry ; his best offices to society to be rendered of 
doubtful origin, by what would appear a sort of ever- 
lasting pragmaticalness and delight in finding fault. It 
is natural, all this. We trample upon a man, plunder 
him, imprison him, strive to make him infamous, and 
then we wonder if he is only the more hardened in his 
persuasion that he has a much better case than ourselves. 
One of the pirate printers of the day took advantage of 
the imprisoned writer's popularity to issue the Works of 
the Author of the True-horn Englishman ; and thought 
himself grossly ill-used, because the Author retorted with 
a charge of theft, and a True Collection corrected hy 
Himself The very portrait he had affixed to this latter 
book constituted a new offence. Here was a large, de- 
termined, resolute face ; and here was a lordly, full- 
bottomed wig surmounting it, — flowing lower than the 
elbow, and rising higher than the forehead, in amazing 

De Foe.'\ hard literary labour. 105 

amplitude of curl. Here was riclily-laced cravat ; fine, 
loose, flowing cloak ; and surly, substantial, citizen aspect. 
He was proud of this portrait, by the way, and complains 
of that of the pirate volume as no more like himself than 
Sir Roger L'Estrange was like the dog Touzer. But, was 
this the look of a languishing prisoner ? Was this an 
image of the tyranny complained of ? Neither Tutchin 
of the Ohservator, nor Leslie of the Rehearsal, could bring 
himself to think it. So they found some rest from the 
assailing of each other, in common and prolonged assaults 
upon De Foe. 

He did not spare them in return. He wrote satires ; 
he wrote polemics ; he wrote politics ; he discussed occa- 
sional conformity with Dissenters, and the grounds of 
popular right with Highfliers ; he wrote a famous account 
of the Great Storm ; he took part in the boldest questions 
of Scotch and Irish policy; he canvassed with daring 
freedom the measures of the Court, on whose pleasure the 
opening of his prison doors depended ; he argued with 
admirable force and wit against a proposed revival of the 
Censorship of the Press ; he put the claims of authors to 
be protected in their Copyright with irresistible force ; ' 

^ At this time, though the author ** hackney abridgers fill the world, 

possessed, by the common law, a " the first with spurio\is and incor- 

perpetual right to his copy, the law " rect copies, and the latter with 

provided him with no means of en- '* imperfect and absurd representa- 

forcing his right, but left every body *' tions, both in fact, style, and 

to rob and plunder him as they ** design. 

pleased. De Foe tells us in forcible *''Tis in vain to exclaim at the 

language, and with a striking illus- *' villainy of these practices, while 

tration from his own case, how this " no law is left to punish them. 

" liberty of the press" worked. ** The press groans under the un- 

" The scandalous liberty of the *' happy burthen, and yet is in a 

" press, which no man more tlian " strait between two mischiefs. 
" myself covets to see rectified, is *' 1. The tyranny of a licenser. 

*' such that all manner of property ** This in all ages has been a method 

" seems prosti'ated to the avarice of "so ill, so arbitrary, and so sub- 
*' some people ; and if it goes on, . Ejected to bribery and parties, that 

" even reading itself will in time " the Government has thought fit, 

*' grow intolerable. " in justice to the learned part of 

" No author is now capable of ** the world, not to suffer it ; since 

" preserving the purity of his style, ** it has always been shutting up the 

" no, nor the native product of his " press to one side and opening it 

" thoughts to fiosterity ; since, after "to the other; which, as affairs 

" the first edition of his work has " are in England often changing, 

*' shown itself, and perhaps sinks in ** has, in its turn, been oppressive to 

" a few hands, piratic printers or " both. 




and finally (on tlie 19tli February, 1704) he set up Ms 

Its plan was curious, and, at that time, new to English, 
literature. It was at first a quarto sheet, somewhat 
widely printed, published weekly, and sold for a penny. 

" 2. The unbridled liberty of in- 
vading each other's property ; and 
this is the evil the press now cries 
for help in. 

*' To let it go on thus, will in 
time discourage all manner of 
learning ; and authors will never 
set heartily about anything, when 
twenty years' study shall immedi- 
ately be sacrificed to the profit of 
a piratical printer, who not only 
ruins the author, but abuses the 

" I shall trouble myself only to 
give some instances of this in my 
own case. 

"1, As to abusing the copy, the 
True-horn Englishman is a re- 
markable example, by which the 
author, though in it he eyed no 
profit, liad he been to enjoy the 
profit of his own labour, had 
gained abou^ 1 OOOZ ; a book that, 
besides nine editions of the au- 
thor, has been twelve times printed 
by other hands ; some of which 
have been sold for Id, others "Id, 
and others 6^, while the author's 
edition being fairly printed, and 
on good paper, and could not be 
sold under a shilling. Eighty 
thousand of the small ones have 
been sold in the streets for 2d ot 
at Id ; and the author, thus 
abused and discouraged, had no 
remedy but patience. 
* ' And yet he had received no 
mortification at this, had his copy 
been transmitted fairly to the 
world ; but the monstrous abuses 
of that kind are hardly credible. 
Twenty, fifty, in some places 
sixty lines, left out in a place ; 
others turned, spoiled, and so 
intolerably mangled, that the 
parent of the brat could not know 
■ his own child. This is the thing 

" complained of, and which I wait 
" with patience, and not without 
" hopes, to see rectified." 

To this he adds other illustrations 
of a similar kind, and then re- 
marks : 

" It may be inquired here how 
' will you find a remedy for this 
' mischief? How will you have 
' the drones that work none, but 
' devour the labour and industry of 
' the bees, kept out of the hive ? 

" It is an unhappiness that, in 
' answering this point, there is not 
' difficulty enough either to excuse 

* the Government in letting it lie so 
' long neglected, or to procure me 
' any reasonable applause for the 
' contrivance. 

' ' The road is as plain as the table 
' of multiplication, and that a con- 

* junction of parts makes an addition 
' of quantity. Two short clauses 
' would heal all these evils, would 
' prevent seditious pamphlets, 1am- 
' poons, and invectives against the 

* Government, or at least prevent 
' their going unpunished, and pre- 
' serve to every man the fruit of his 
' own labour and industry. 

'' First. That every author set 
' his name to what he writes, and 
' that every printer or publisher 
' that pi-ints or publishes a book 

* without it, shall be deemed the 
' author, and answerable for the 
' contents. 

" Secondly. That no man shall 

* print another man s copy ; or, in 
' English, that no printer or book- 
' seller shall rob another man's 
' house ; for it really is no better, 
' nor is it any slander, notwith- 
' standing the aforesaid pretence, 

* to call it by that title." 
Whether or not De Foe's plan 

would have proved effective, needs 

De Foe.'] the review started. 107 

After the fourtli number, it was reduced to half-a-sheet, 
and sold for twopence, in smaller print and with double 
columns. After the eighth number, it was published 
twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Before the 
close of the first volume, it sent forth monthly supple- 
ments. And at last it appeared on the Tuesday, Thurs- 
day, and Saturday of every week ; and so continued, 
without intermission, and written solely by De Foe, for 
nine years. He wrote it in prison and out of prison ; 
in sickness and in health. It did not cease when cir- 
cumstances called him from England. No official 
employment determined it ; no politic consideration availed 
to discontinue it ; no personal hostility, or party censure, 
weighed with him in the balance against it. "As to 
" censure," he exclaimed, " the writer expects it. He 
" writes to serve the world, not to please it. A few wise, 
" calm, disinterested men, he always had the good hap 
" to please and satisfy. By their judgment he desires 
" still to be determined ; and, if he has any pride, it is that 
" he may be approved by such. To the rest, he sedately 
" says, their censure deserves no notice." So, through all 
the vicissitudes of men and ministries, from 1704 to 1713, 
amid all the contentions and shouts of party, he kept with 
this homely weapon his single-handed way, a solitary 
watchman at the portals of the commonwealth. Remark- 
able for its rich and various knowledge, its humour, its 
satire, its downright hearty earnestness, it is a yet more 
surprising monument of inexhaustible activity and energy. 
It seems to have been suggested to him, in the first 
instance, as a resource against the uncertainties of his 

not now be discussed. Suffice it to to a book very lately published by 

observe, that it never occurred to Mr. Charles Reade, the ^V(7 A/A Co 7ri- 

him to provide a remedy by limiting mandment. Everyone who has at 

the author's right to the fraction of heart the interests of Literature and 

time afterwards conceded to him ; its professors, or who desires to help 

though he was fain to accept even in removing a national reproach and 

that concession, wrung forth mainly discredit, should read a book which 

by his own remonstrances, as an in both respects does noble service, 

improvement on the existing system. It is full of thoughts as wise and 

[If the reader wishes to pursue just as they are generous, though 

the subject of this note (which I not perhaps always uttered in the 

may be excused for saying that I wisest way ; but even the faults of 

have also largely illustrated in my the book are those of a large-minded 

Life of Goldsmith), let me refer him and large-hearted man. 18(iU.] 


imprisonment, and ttie disastrous effects on his trade 
speculations (he had lost by his late prosecution more 
than 4000/) ; and there is no doubt it assisted him in the 
support of his family for several of these years. But he had 
no efficient protection against the continued piracy of it. 
The thieves counted it by thousands, when worthy Mr. 
Matthews the publisher could only render account for hun- 
dreds ; and hence the main and most substantial profit its 
writer derived from all the anxiety and toil it cost him, 
was expressed in the proud declaration of one of its latest 
lumbers. "I have here espoused an honest interest, 
" and have steadily adhered to it all my days. I never 
" forsook it when it was oppressed ; never made a gain 
" by it when it was advanced ; and, I thank God, it is 
" not in the power of all the Courts and Parties in 
" Christendom to bid a price high enough to buy me off 
" from it, or make me desert it." 

The arrangement of its plan was not less original than 
that of its form. The path it struck out in periodical 
literature was, in this respect, entirely novel. It classed 
the lesser and the larger morals ; it mingled personal and 
public themes ; it put the gravities of life in an enter- 
taining form ; and at once it discussed the politics, and 
corrected the vices, of the age. We may best indicate the 
manner in which this was done, by naming rapidly the 
subjects treated in the first volume, in addition to those 
of political concern. It condemned the fashionable prac- 
tice of immoderate drinking ; in various ways it ridiculed 
the not less fashionable habit of swearing ; it inveighed 
against the laxity of marital ties ; it exposed the licentious- 
ness of the stage ; it discussed, with great clearness and 
sound knowledge, questions affecting trade and the poor; 
it laughed at the rage for gambling speculations; and it 
waged inveterate war with that barbarous practice of the 
duel, in which De Foe had to confess, with shame, that he 
had once during his life been engaged. Its machinery for 
matters non-political was a so-called Scandalous Club, or- 
ganised to hear complaints, and entrusted with the power 
of deciding them. We will show how it acted. A gen- 
tleman appears before the Club, and complains of his 
wife. She is a bad wife ; he cannot exactly tell why. 
There is a long examination, proving nothing; when 

De Foe.'] the tatler anticipated. 109 

suddenly a member of the Club begs pardon for the ques- 
tion, and asks if his worship was a good husband. His 
worship, greatly surprised at such a question, is again at 
a loss to answer. Whereupon the Club pass three reso- 
lutions. 1. That most women that are bad wives are 
made so by bad husbands. 2. That this society will 
hear no complaints against a virtuous bad wife from a 
vicious good husband. 3. That he that has a bad wife, 
and can't find the reason of it in her, ^tis ten to one 
that he finds it in himself. And the decision finally is, 
that the gentleman is to go home, and be a good husband 
for at least three months ; after which, if his wife is still 
uncured, they will proceed against her as they shall find 
cause. In this way, pleas and defences are heard on the 
various points that present themselves in the subjects 
named ; and not seldom with a lively dramatic interest. 
The graver arguments and essays, too, have an easy 
homely vigour, a lightness and pleasantry of tone, very 
diff'erent from the ponderous handling peculiar to the 
Eidpaths and the Dyers, the Tutchins and the Leslies. 
We open at an essay on Trade, which would delight Mr. 
Cobden himself. De Foe is arguing against impolitic 
restrictions. We think to plague the foreigner, he says; 
and in reality we but deprive ourselves. "If you vex 
" me, I'll eat no dinner, said I, when I was a little boy : 
" till my mother taught me to be wiser by letting me 
" stay till I was hungry." 

The reader will remember the time when this Review 
was planned. Ensign Steele was yet but a lounger in 
the lobbies of the theatres, and Addison had not emerged 
from his garret in the Haymarket. The details of common 
life had not yet been invested with the graces of litera- 
ture, the social and polite moralities were still disregarded 
in the press, the world knew not the influence of my 
Lady Betty Modish, and Colonel Ranter still swore at 
the waiters. Where, then, shall we look for " the first 
" sprightly runnings " of Tatlers and Spectators, if we 
have not found them in De Foe's Revieic ? The earlier 
was indeed the ruder workman : but wit, originality, and 
knowledge were not less the tools he worked with ; and 
the latter "two-penny authors," as Mr. Dennis is pleased 
to caU them, found the way well struck out for their 


finer and more delicate art. What had been done for 
the citizen classes, they were to do for the beauties and 
the wits. They had watched the experiment, and seen 
its success. The Review was enormously popular. It 
was stolen, pirated, hawked about everywhere ; and the 
writer, with few of the advantages, paid all the penalties 
of success. He complains that his name was made " the 
" hackney title of the times." Hardly a penny or two- 
penny pamphlet was afterwards cried in the streets, or a 
broadside put forth appealing to the people, to which the 
scurrilous libeller, or witless dunce, had not forged that 
popular name. Nor was it without its influence on the 
course of events which now gradually changed the aspect 
and the policy of Godolphin's government. De Foe has 
claimed for himself large share in preparing a way for 
what were called the "modern Whigs;" and the claim 
was undoubtedly well founded. 

IS^ottingham and Rochester had resigned; and the 
great House of Commons tactician was now a member of 
the government. The seals of the Home and War 
offices had been given to Harley and his friend Henry 
St. John. The Lord-Treasurer could not yet cross boldly 
to the Whigs, and he would not creep back to the Tories; 
but to join with Robert Harley was to do neither of these 
things. This famous person appears to us to have been 
the nearest representative of what we might call the 
practical spirit of the Eevolution, of any who lived in 
that age. In one of his casual sayings, reported by 
Pope, we seem to find a clue to his character. Some one 
had observed of a measure proposed, that the people 
would never bear it : " None of us," replied Harley, 
" know how far the good people of England will bear." 
All his life he was engaged in attempts upon that problem. 
If he had thought less of the good people of England, he 
would have been a less able, a more daring, and certainly 
a more successful statesman. We do not think he was a 
Trimmer, in the ordinary sense of the word. When he 
went to church, and sent his family to the meeting-house, 
— when, upon asking a clergyman to his Sunday table, 
he was careful to provide a clergyman " of another sort " 
to meet him, — we should try to find a better word for it, 
if we would not find a worse for the Revolution. The 

De Foe.~\ character of harley. Ill 

Revolution trimined between two parties ; and the Revo- 
lution, to this day, is but the grand unsolved experiment 
of how much the people of England will bear. To call 
Harley a mere court intriguer, is as preposterous as to 
call him a statesman of commanding genius. He had 
less of mere courtliness than any of his colleagues. The 
fashionable French dancing-master who wondered what 
the devil the Queen should have seen in him to make 
him an Earl and Lord-Treasurer, for he had attended 
him two years, and never taught such a dunce, — gives 
us a lively notion of his homely, bourgeois manners. 
Petticoat politics are to be charged against him ; but, to 
no one who thoroughly knew the Queen can it be 
matter of severe reproach, that he was at the pains to 
place Abigail Hill about her person. He knew the 
impending doTvnifall of Marlborough's too imperious wife; 
and was he to let slip a power so plainly within his grasp, 
and see it turned against him? His success in the Bed- 
chamber never shook his superior faith in the agencies of 
Parliament and the Press. These two were the levers 
of the Revolution ; and they are memorably associated 
with the Government of Robert Harley. 

As soon as he joined Godolphin, he seems to have 
turned his thoughts to De Foe. He was not, indeed, 
the first who had done so. More than one attempt had 
been already made to capitulate with that potent prisoner. 
Two lords had gone to him in Newgate ! exclaims Old- 
mixon ; in amaze that one lord should find his way to such 
a place. He says the same thing himself, in the witty nar- 
rative at the close of the Consolidator. But these lords 
carried conditions with them ; and there is a letter in the 
British Museum (Addit. MS. 7421), wherein DeFoe writes 
to Lord Halifax, that he '' scorned to come out of JN'ewgate 
*• at 'the price of betraying a dead master.'' Harley 
made no conditions, for that was not his way : he sent to 
Mr. De Foe because he was a man of letters, and in 
distress. His message was " by word of mouth ; " and to 
this effect — " Pray, ask Mr. De Foe what I can do for 
" him." Nor was the reply less characteristic. The 
prisoner took a piece of paper, and wrote the parable of 
the blind man in the Gospel. *' I am blind, and yet ask 
" me what thou shalt do for me ! My answer is plain in 


" my misery. Lord, that I may receive my sight ! " 
What else could such a man wish for but his liberty ? 
Yet four months passed before a further communication 
reached him. It seemed to imply reluctance in a higher 
quarter. Within four months, however, " her Majesty 
" was pleased particularly to inquire into my circum- 
" stances, and by my Lord-Treasurer Godolphin to send 
" a considerable supply to my wife and family ; and to 
" send to me the prison-money, to pay my fine and the 
*' expenses of my discharge." 

He was released in August 1704. His health had then 
become shattered by his long confinement. He took a 
house at Bury in Suffolk, and lived there a little while 
retired. But his pen did not rest ; nor could he retire 
from the notoriety that followed him, or from other pen- 
alties of that public service which he still continued 
fearlessly to discharge. Luttrell records in his Diary 
(under date of the 26th Sept. 1704) that " it's said, 
" Daniel De Foe is ordered to be taken into custody for 
" reflecting on Admiral Rooke, in his Master Mercury, 
" whereby he has forfeited his recognisance for his good 
** behaviour." His name also, to papers he had not 
written, continued to be hawked about the London 
streets ; and it was reported, and had to be formally 
denied, that he had escaped from Newgate by a trick. 
Then came the exciting news that Blenheim was won, 
France humbled, Europe saved ; and De Foe, in a Hymn 
to Victory, verses of no great merit, but which cost him 
only " three hours *' to compose, gave public utterance to 
his joy.' Then, the dry unlettered Lord-Treasurer went 
in search of the most graceful wit among the Whigs, to 
get advice as to some regular poet who might properly 

^ Among the extremely few letters ** wonderful times" they are living 
of De Foe that have survived, out in, refers to his poem on The Vic- 
of the not very many he is likely tory, and mentions some fifty books 
to have written (he was too busy a that had been forwarded. He makes 
man for a voluminous letter-writer), allusion also, in the later note, to 
I have seen two brief notes of which his Jure Divino, to the circulation 
one belongs to this date, and one of the i^eriVu', and to the un warrant- 
to a year later, addressed to a Mr. able advertisement for his arrest 
Elisha. To this correspondent, who {ante, p. 99), of which his numer- 
■was probably one of the agents em- ous enemies were still making pro- 
ployed by him in the sale or circu la- fitable use as a battery of assault 
tion of his writings, he speaks of the against him. 

De Foe.'\ letters to lord Halifax. 113 

celebrate the Captain- General. Then HaKfax brought 
down Addison from his garret ; the Campaign was ex- 
changed for a comfortable Government salary ; and 
communications were at the same time opened again, 
upon the same suggestion, with De Foe. Two letters of 
this date, from himself to Halifax, have escaped his 
biographers. In the first, he is grateful for that lord's 
unexpected goodness, in mentioning him to my Lord- 
Treasurer ; but would be well-pleased to wait till Halifax 
is himself in power. He speaks of a Government com- 
munication concerning " paper credit," which he is then 
handling in his Review. He regrets that some proposal 
his lordship had sent, "exceeding pleasant for me to 
" perform, as well as useful to be done," had been so 
blundered by the messenger that he could not under- 
stand it ; and from this we get a glimpse of a person 
hitherto unnamed in his history, — a brother, a stupid 
fellow. In the second letter he acknowledges the praise 
and favours of Lord Halifax : and thus manfully declares 
the principle on which his own services are offered. " If 
" to be encouraged in giving myself up to that service 
" your lordship is pleased so much to overvalue ; if going 
*' on with the more cheerfulness in being useful to, and 
" promoting, the general peace and interest of this nation; 
" if to the last vigorously opposing a stupid, distracted 
*' party, that are for ruining themselves rather than not 
" destroy their neighbours ; if this be to merit so much 
*' regard, your lordship binds me in the most durable, and 
" to me the most pleasant engagement in the world, 
" because 'tis a service that, with my gratitude to your 
" lordship, keeps an exact unison with my reason, my 
" principle, my inclinations, and the duty every man 
" owes to his country, and his posterity." 

Harley was at this time in daily communication with 
Halifax, and very probably saw these letters ; but he was 
a man who managed all things warily, and who, even in 
dealing with the press, knew the value of the delicacies. 
He had not appeared in De Foe's affairs since he effected 
his release : and that release he threw upon the Queen. 
In the same temper he sent to him now. The Queen, he 
said, had need of his assistance ; but he offered him no 
employment to fetter future engagements. He knew that 


in tlie last of his publications (tlie Consolidator, a prose 
satire, remarkable for tlie hints it threw out to Gulliver) , 
De Foe had laughed at Addison' for refusing to write the 
Campaign " till he had 200/. a year secured to him ; " — 
an allusion never forgiven. Harley was content, there- 
fore, simply to send for him to London ; to tell him the 
Queen *' had the goodness to think of taking him into 
" her service ; " and to do what the Whigs were vainly 
endeavouring to do for the Irish Priest who had written 
the most masterly satire since the days of Eabelais. He 
took him to Court to kiss hands. "We see in all this but 
the truth of the character we would assign to this so 
variously estimated statesman. On grounds independent 
of either party, except so far as " reason, principle, in- 
" clinations, and duty to his country " should prompt, the 
powerful, homely, and popular writer had thus quietly 
and surely been enlisted in the service of the Govern- 
ment of the Revolution. Compared with Harley, we 
cannot but think the old Whigs, with every honest in- 
clination, little better than bunglers in matters of the 
kind. It is true that not even Harley could carry the 
Yicar of Laracor to the palace ; but he might show that 
he understood why Swift wished to be there, and might 
conciliate that weakness in his character. He could carry 
him in his coach to country ale-houses ; he could play 
games of counting poultry on the road, or " who should 
" first see a cat or an old woman ; " he could loll back 
on his seat with a broad Temple jest ; or he could caU 
and be called " Jonathan " and " Harley ; " — and the 
old Whigs were much too chary of these things. So 
they had lost Prior, and were losing Parnell and Swift ; 
and he who had compared Lord Somers to Aristides, was 
soon to talk of him as little better than a rascal. 

We next see De Foe in the house of Mr. Secretary 
Harley. He has been named to execute a secret com- 
mission in the public service, which requires a brief 
absence on the Continent. He is making preparations 
for his departure ; is proposing to travel as *' Mr. Chris- 

^ In his verses of Do«&Ze TTeZcowie " Mecaenas has his modem fancy- 
to the Duke of Marlborough he has strung — 

also a sarcastic allusion to Addison, You fix'd his pension first, or he had 

when he speaks of the way in which never sung." 

De Foe.~\ electioneering. 115 

" topher Hurt ; *' is giving Harley advice for a large 
scheme of secret intelligence ; and is discussing with him 
a proposed poetical satire (afterwards published as the 
Diet of Polandy against the High Church faction. In a 
subsequent farewell letter he adverts to these things ; 
and, after naming some matters of public feeling in 
which one of the minister's Tory associates was awk- 
wardly involved, characteristically closes with an opinion, 
that it was needful Harley should know in this, as well 
as anything else, what the people say. 

The foreign service was one of danger. '^ I ran as much 
" danger of my life," he said, " as a grenadier upon the 
" counterscarp." But it was discharged successfully; and, 
in consideration of the risk, the Government offered him 
what seems to have been a small sinecure. He took it as 
a debt ; and at a later period, when opposed to the reign- 
ing Ministry, complains that large arrears were then 
unpaid. On his return he had found the Tory House of 
Commons dissolved, and the new elections in progress. 
He threw himself into the contest with characteristic 
ardour. He wrote; he canvassed; he voted; he jour- 
neyed throughout the country on horseback, he tells us, 
more than eleven hundred miles ; and, in addresses to elec- 
tors everywhere, still he counselled the necessity of laying 
aside party prejudices, of burying former animosities, 
and of meeting their once Tory ministers at least half- 
way. He found many arguments on his road, he adds. 
He found people of all opinions, as well Churchmen as 
Dissenters, living in Christian neighbourhood ; and he 

^ There are excellent lines in this Are always cheated, oftentimes un- 
Diet of Poland, of which a great part done, 

satirizes, under cover of the factions Besieged with flattery, false report, 
against Sobieski, the character of the and lies, 

party intrigues against William III. And soothed with schemes of vast 
One might expect to meet in the absurdities. 

Satires of Churchill such a passage as The jangling statesmen clash in their 
I here subjoin : 

Fraud fights with fraud, and craft 

"Statesmen are gamesters, sharp to craft inclines ; 

and trick's the play. Stiffly engage, quarrel, accuse, and 

Kings are but cullies, wheedled in to hate, 

pay ; And strive for leave to help undo 

The Courtiers footballs, kick'd from the State." 

one to one, 


had very often the honour, " with small difficulty, of con- 
" vincing gentlemen over a bottle of wine, that the author 
" of the Review was really no monster, but a conversable, 
" social creature/* His Essays, meanwhile, written in 
the progress of this journeying, were admirable ; and 
with every paper that he wrote, to use his own language. 
Rehearsals raved, Ohservators bullied, and High Church 
not only voted him to the Devil but exhibited him in 
that companionship. I possess a curious tract entitled, 
*' Daniel De Foe and the Devil at Leapfrog, Being a 
" Dialogue which passed between them as they were 
" recreating themselves at that Sport in an eminent 
*' Tavern in Cheapside,'' ^ which for the character and 
degree of its abuse is perfectly astounding ; but which 
yet is valuable for the evidence it unconsciously bears to 
the extraordinary popularity of his Reviews. They were 
read in every cofi'ee-house and club ; often they were 
stolen from these houses by Highfliers, that they might 
not be read ; they were quoted on every popular hustings ; 
the Duchess of Marlborough sent them over to the camp 
in Flanders ; * and the writer, on peril of his life, was 
warned to discontinue them. His tributes of this latter 
kind were numerous. He had to change his publisher, 
Mr. Matthews, a set of high churchmen having conspired 
to clap him into prison ; his printer was threatened ; his 
own house was marked to be pulled down ; he was beset 
and dogged by adversaries armed for personal violence. 

^ It is adorned by a large -wood- did) by taking the Devil, from his 
cut representing De Foe, bis hat and domineering, to be a "High Church- 
ample wig on the ground, "making " man or a Player." 
"aback" in the centre, with the ^ Acknowledging one in which he 
Devil preparing to leap on one is himself gallantly vindicated, the 
side, and on the other a highly Duke writes to the Duchess, " I do 
dressed lively gentleman looking " not know who the author of the 
on, whom we discover to be Pin- " Eevieivis, but I do not like to see 
kethman the actor. " Make a fair " my name in print ; for I am per- 
" back, David," cries the Devil. " suaded that an honest man must 
*'I do, don't I, Pinkethman?" " be justified by his own actions, 
says De Foe. "No, you cheating "and not by the pen of a writer, 
" Dog," replies Pinkethman, "you "though he should be a zealous 
"don't!" The epithets hurled at "friend." To which I will venture 
De Foe, in the course of the dia- to reprint the brief comment which 
logue, might do credit to even a I find affixed to this passage in my 
Devil's vocabulary ; while De Foe in copy of Wilson's De Foe. — Non- 
return seems to tliink he hits hard sense ; he was afraid he would have 
enough (which in all probability he to pay something. 

T)e Foe.'\ a true englishman. 117 

Highflying Justices followed him about the country with 
false warrants of arrest; sham actions were brought 
against him in shoals; compounded debts of long past 
years were revived ; his life was threatened by bullying 
letters, his morals were assaulted by impotent and 
groundless slanders, his principles were misrepresented 
alike by professing friends and malicious enemies, and 
only his own unequalled and irresistible energy could 
have stayed the completion of his ruin. But no jot of 
heart or hope was abated in him. " Take him with all 
'' his failings," says no friendly critic, " it must be ac- 
" knowledged that he is a man of good parts, and very 
" clear sense. He is master of the English tongue, and 
" can say what he pleases upon any subject. With all 
" my revenge, I cannot but own his thoughts are always 
" surprising, new, and singular : and though he writes 
"for bread, he could never be hired to wrong his con- 
" science or disgrace the quill : and, which crowns his 
" panegyric, he is a person of true courage. He is not 
" daunted with multitudes of enemies ; for he faces as 
" many every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, as 
'^ there are foes to moderation and peace. He Hevietcs 
"■ without fear, and acts without fainting. To do him 
" justice, he has piety enough for an author, and courage 
" enough for a martyr. And in a word, if any, Daniel 
** De Foe is a True Englishman." It was an honest 
opponent of his, eccentric old John Dunton, who said 
that, and honoured himself by saying it. 

The elections confirmed the power of the Whigs. The 
Duke of Buckingham and Sir Nathan Wright retired to 
make way for the Duke of Newcastle and Lord Cowper ; 
and a renegade Whig and former Dissenter, Lord Haver- 
sham, led the first attack upon the ministers. De Foe 
was dragged forward by this lord as the *'mean and 
" mercenary prostitute of the Bevietv ;'* as making his 
fortune by the way of " scribbling ;" and as receiving 
both " encouragement and instructions " from Godolphin. 
There was a quiet dignity and eloquence in his answer. 
He reminds the turncoat peer that Fate, which makes 
footballs of men, kicks some men up stairs and some 
down ; that some are advanced without honour, others 
suppressed without infamy ; that some are raised without 


merit, some crushed without crime ; and that no man 
knows, by the beginning of things, whether his course 
shall issue in a peerage or a pillory. To the charge of 
writing for bread, he asks what are all the employments 
in the world pursued for, but for bread ? The lawyer 
" pleads, the soldier fights, the musician fiddles, the 
" players act, and, no reflection on the tribe, the clergy 
" preach, for bread." ^ For the rest he reminds him that 
he had never betrayed his master (William had given 
Lord Haversham his peerage), nor his friend ; that he 
had always espoused the cause of truth and liberty ; that 
he had lived to be ruined for it ; that he had lived to see 
it triumph over tyranny, party rage, and persecution 
principles ; that he thanked God this world had not a 
price to give, sufficient to bribe him from it ; and that he 
ivas sorry to see any man abandon it. 

Besides the Review, he had published, in the current 
year, works on Trade ; on the conduct and management 
of the Poor ; on Toleration ; and on colonial Intolerance 
in North America. It would be difficult to name a more 
soundly reasoned or shrewdly written pamphlet than his 
Giving Alms no Charity. Yet he knew what then he had 
to contend with, in dealing with a subject so imperfectly 
understood. His judgment may differ from that of 
others in giving some needful hints as to the state of 
our poor, he says, but he must be plain. " While he 
*' is no enemy to charity-hospitals and workhouses, he 
" thinks that methods to keep our poor out of them far 
" exceed, both in prudence and charity, all the settlements 
" and endeavours in the world to maintain them there." 
Especially did he claim to be heard on that subject, he 

^ It is a remarkable fact, neverthe- promoting public morals and the 

less, that, for a great part of the time public service. " I defy the whole 

during which he was carrying on the " world to prove," he said at this 

Review, De Foe derived no personal particular time, " that I have 

profit from it. Such income as ac- "directly or indirectly gained or 

crued to him was drawn still from the " received a single shilling, or the 

remains of his mercantile specula- ' ' value of it, by the sale of this 

tions ; and he continued the labours " paper, for now almost four years ; 

and sacrifices which the Review *' and honest Mr, Morphew is able 

involved, *' amassing infinite ene- " to detect me if I speak false." 

**mies,"ashe remarks, "and not Mr. Morphew had succeeded Mr. 

"at all obliging even the men I Matthews as its publisher, 
"serve," for the sole reward of 

De Foe."] "jure diyino." 119 

added, as an English freeholder. His town tenements 
had been taken from him, the Tilbury works were gone, 
and the Freeman's-yard house was his no longer, — but 
he still possessed one English freehold. He does not tell 
us in what county (towards the close of his life he was in 
possession of a small freehold in Essex) ; but he had 
moved his family to Newington, and it may have been 
in some way connected with that scene of his boyhood. 
To this date, also, belong several pamphlets on Dissenters' 
questions ; his attempted enforcement of a better scheme 
for the Regulation of Madhouses, and for humanity to 
their inmates ; and his Jure Divino. In the latter, the 
reasoning is better than the poetry ; but it has vigorous 
verses in it, and its rude strong lines passed current 
Tsith great masses of the people. It appeared with a large 
subscription,* and such was the certainty that its author 
would be worth plundering, that the whole satire was im- 
pudently pirated on the very day of its pubKcation. Now, 
too, there went to him that worthy and much distressed 
bookseller, who had published a large edition of a very 
dull and heavy book, called Drelincourt on Death, " with 
several directions how to prepare ourselves to die well ;" 
which the public, not appearing to relish unauthorised 

1 As to which, let me add, De ' ' taine Book called Jure Divine, a 

Foe's ruthless and inveterate anta- " Satyr on Passive Obedience, &c, 

gonists took advantage of a brief and " and now for that he has got the 

not unusual delay in its publication " money, does not publish the said 

(it was for but a few months) to charge "Book, according to his promise, 

him with an intention to cheat his " and according as to the Honour 

subscribers. I possess a pamphlet, " of a Poet he Ought." It is need- 

which a manuscript memorandum on less to add that the "Tryal, Ex- 

the title, in the handwriting of the " amination, and Condemnation," 

time, shows to have been issued on are conducted in a style of reckless 

the 2nd October, 1705 ; and simply scurrility in every respect worthy 

to quote that title will show the of this title. Certainly De Foe was 

violence and recklessness of the ene- the best abused man even of that 

mies whom his hard hitting had abusive time. The bi-weekly paper 

provoked. " The Proceedings at called the Rehearsal, now before 

" the Tryal, Examination, and Con- me, seems to have existed for no 

" demnation, of a certain Scribling, other purpose than to assail him; 

** Rhyming, Versifying, Poeteeriug and this it did unsparingly twice every 

"Hosier and True Born English- week, through a series of years now 

"man, commonly known by the represented by four reasonably sized 

" name of Daniel the prophet, folio volumes, to which his name 

" alias Anglipoliski, alias Foeski, (under vai'ious forms of attack and 

" alias your humble sei-vant De F, abuse) imparts the solitary interest 

" for taking subscriptions to a cer- they continue to possess* 



directions of that nature, liad stubbornly refused to 
buy. What was to be done with the ponderous stock 
under which his shelves were groaning ? De Foe quieted 
his fears. Nothing but a ghost from the grave, it was 
true, could recommend such a book with effect ; but a 
ghost from the grave the worthy bookseller should have.' 

^ In connection -with this subject, 
and the impression one cannot but 
receive, from the downright earnest- 
ness with which the invention is cha- 
ractei'ised, that De Foe actually might 
himself have believed in the possi- 
bility of such a visitation, and so 
might have thought it no bad service 
to his countrymen to do his best to 
persuade them of the like, even by 
means of a fiction, — I ought here to 
mention that, besides innumerable 
passages in his general writings to the 
same effect, he published a formal 
treatise on Apparitions and Spirits, 
and the strong probabilities of their 
direcu communication with the visible 
•world. There can be little doubt 
that De Foe's I'eligious convictions 
find belief sought help and sustain- 
ment from speculations of this na- 
ture, and that he held it to be the 
moral and material delect of his day, 
that the spiritual element in life ob- 
tained such small recognition. ' ' Be- 
" tween our ancestors laying too 
" much stress on supernatural evi- 
*' dences,"hesays, "and the present 
" age endeavouring wholly to ex- 
* ' plode and despise them, the world 
*' seems hardly ever to have come 
** to a right understanding . . . 
*' Spirit is certainly something we do 
** not fully understand in our present 
' ' confined circumstances ; and, as 
"we do not fully understand the 
" thing, so neither can we distin- 
** guish its operation. Yet not- 
*' withstanding all this, it converses 
*' here ; is with us and among us ; 
** corresponds, though unembodied, 
*' with our spirits ; and this con- 
* * versing is not only by an invisible, 
" but to us an inconceivable way." 
Such communication he believes to 
take place by two modes, First, by 

'* immediate, personal, and parti- 
" cular converse;" and secondly, 
by " those spirits acting at a dis- 
" tance, rendering themselves vi- 
" sible, and their transactions per- 
" ceptible, on such occasions as 
*' they think fit, without any further 
** acquaintance with the person." 
It was his conviction that God had 
posted an army of these ministering 
spirits round our globe, "to be 
" ready, at all events, to execute his 

* * orders and to do his will ; reserv- 
* ' ing still to himself to send express 
" messengers of a superior rank on 
" extraordinary occasions." These, 
he adds, " may, without any ab- 
" surdity, be supposed capable of 
* ' assuming shapes, conversing with 
" mankind by voice and sound, or 
*' by private notices of things, im- 
" pulses, forebodings, misgivings, 

* and other imperceptible commu- 
" nications to the minds of men, as 
" God their great em^jloyer may 
" direct." But, upon the power of 
man to control, or communicate at 
Lis will with such spiritual beings, 
he entertains doubts, and gravely 
protests against the arts of conjura- 
tion. I subjoin also the curious 
and somewhat touching passage in 
which De Foe accounts for the 
strength of these beliefs in him, by 
the ordinary current of his daily ex- 
periences. "I firmly believe, " says 
he, " and have had such convincing 
" testimonies of it, that I must be 
" a confirmed atheist if I did not, 
' * that there is a converse of spirits, 
" I mean those unembodied, and 
** those that are encased in flesh. 
" From whence, else, come all those 
* ' private notices, strong impulses, 
" involuntary joy, sadness, and 
" foreboding apprehensions, of and 

De Foe.'] the ghost of mrs. veal. 


As speedily done as said. De Foe sent him, in a few 
days, The True History of the Apjmrition of one Mrs. Veal, 
the next day after her Death, to one Mrs. Bargrave, at 
Canterbury, the 8th of September, 1705. If such a thing 
was ever to be believed, here it was made credible. 
When Shakespeare invented five justices to put their 
hand to that enormous flam of Autolycus, about the mer- 
maid that appeared upon the coast on Wednesday the 
fourscore of April, forty thousand fathom above water, 
and sang her pitiful baUad of her love adventures, we 
laugh at the joke, and there's an end of it. But here was 
quite another matter. The very narrative purports to be 

** about things immediately attend- 
" ing us, and this in the most im- 
* ' portant affairs of our lives ? That 
"there are such things, I think I 
" need not go about to prove ; and I 
' ' believe they are, next to the Scrip- 

* * tures, some of the best and most 
* ' undeniable evidences of a future 
* ' existence. It would be endless to 
* ' fill this paper with the testimonies 
" of learned and pious men ; and I 
" could add to them a volume of my 
' ' own experiences, some of them so 
" strange as would shock your belief, 
' ' though I could produce such proofs 
" as would convince any man. I 
" have had, perhaps, a greater va- 
" riety of changes, accidents, and 
" disasters, in my short unhapi)y 
" life, than any man, at least than 
'* most men alive : yet I had never 
* ' any considerable mischief or dis- 
* ' aster attending me, but, sleeping 
" or waking, I have had notice of it 
" beforehand ; and, had I listened 
" to those notices, I believe might 
" have shunned the evil. Let no 
' ' man think this a jest. I seriously 
" acknovvledge, and I do believe, 
" my neglect of such notices has 
" been my great injury ; and, since 
" I have ceased to neglect them, I 
*' have been guided to avoid even 
** snares laid for my life, by no 
' ' other knowledge of them than by 

* * such notices and warnings ; and, 
** more than that, have been guided 
" by them to discover even the fact 

** and the persons. I have living? 
" witnesses to produce, to whom I 
*' have told the particulars in the 
'* very moment, and who have been 
" so affected with them, as that 
*' they have pressed me to avoid the 
'* danger, to retire, to keep myself 
'* up, and the like." At a time 
(1855) when this subject has been 
revived, in a form as little likely to 
recommend it to the right feeling 
as to the rational understanding of 
the community, I have thought that 
these extracts might be interesting. 
I will add that this very Essay on 
Apparitions contains one of the best 
pieces of prose satire I know, de' 
scriptive of a class of men rife in 
De Foe's day, and not extirpated 
since, to whom it would be as ridi- 
culous to talk of such a subject as 
to listen to its discussion by them. 
" To see a fool," he says, " a fop, 
"believe himself inspired ! — a fel- 
" low that washes his hands fifty 
" times a day, but, if he would be 
" truly cleanly, should have his 
* ' brains taken out and washed, his 
"skull trepanned, and placed with 
** the hinder side before ; so that 
*' his understanding, which nature 
" placed by mistake with the bottom 
" upward, may be set right, and 
"his memory placed in a right 
" position ! To this unscrewed 
*' engine, talk of spirits and of the 
"invisible world, and of his con- 
' ' versing with unembodied souls ! 


drawn up " by a gentleman, a Justice of Peace, at Maid- 
" stone, in Kent, a very intelligent person.'^ Moreover, 
it is attested by a " very sober and understanding gentle- 
'* woman, who lives in Canterbury, witbin a few doors of 
" the bouse in wbich Mrs. Bargrave lives." The one 
vouches for the other, and the other vouches for Mrs. B.'s 
veracity. The justice believes his kinswoman to be of so 
discerning a spirit as not to be put upon by any fallacy ; 
and the kinswoman positively assures the justice that the 
whole matter, as it is related and laid down, is really true, 
and what she herself heard, as near as may be, from Mrs. 
Bargrave's own mouth : " who, she hioivs, had no reason 
'' to invent or publish such a story, or any design to forge 
" or tell a lie ; being a woman of so much honesty and 
" virtue, and her whole life a course, as it were, of piety." 
Now, surely this business-like, homely, earnest, common- 
place air of truth, is perfectly irresistible. And what said 
the ghost to Mrs. Bargrave ? Why, the ghost, in the 
course of a long gossip, filled with the says I and thinks /, 
the says she and thinks she, of the tea-table of a country 
town, and in which are introduced scoured silks, broken 
china, and other topics such as the ghost of an exciseman's 
house-keeper might possibly talk over with a seamstress, 
but which certainly nobody would ever think of inventing 
for a supernatural visitation,— said, with all the confident 
dogmatism of her recent mortuary experience, that Dre- 
lincourt's book about Death was the best book ever written 
on that subject. Doctor Sherlock was not bad ; two Dutch 
books had merit ; several others were worth mention ; 
but Drelincourt, she protested, had by far the clearest 
notions of death and the future state, of any one who had 
handled the matter. The Narrative was appended to the 
book, and a new edition advertised. It flew like wildfire. 
The copies, to use an illustration of Sir, Walter Scott's 
(with whom the narrative was an immense favourite), 
which had hung on the bookseller's hands as heavy as 

*' when he has hardly brains to con- ''to see the Devil, in whatever 

*' verse with anything but a pack " shape he is pleased to appear in, 

*' of hounds, and owes it only to his " is not really qualified to live in 

" being a fool that he does not con- *' this world, no, not in the quality 

" verse with the devil ! — For I ** of a common inhabitant." I 

"must tell you, good people," venture to commend these sentences 

adds De Foe, " he that is not able to the admiration of Mr. Carlyle. 

De Foe.'] negotiating Scottish union. 123 

a pile of lead bullets, now traversed tlie town in every 
direction, like the same bullets discharged from a field- 
piece. Kay, the book has been popular ever since. More 
than fifty editions have not exhausted its popularity. Mrs. 
Yeal's ghost is still believed in by thousands ; and the 
hundreds of thousands who have bought the silly treatise 
of Drelincourt (for hawking booksellers have made their 
fortunes by traversing the country with it in sixpenny 
numbers), have borne unconscious testimony to the genius 
of De Foe. 

It was now engaged once more in the service of the 
Ministry. He had, in various writings, prepared his 
countrymen for the greatest political measure of the time; 
he was known to have advised the late King on a project 
for the Scottish Union ; and Godolphin, about to immor- 
talise his administration by that signal act of statesman- 
ship, called in the services of De Foe. He describes the 
Lord-Treasurer's second introduction of him to her Ma- 
jesty, and to the honour of kissing her hand. " Upon 
" this second introduction, her Majesty was pleased to 
" tell me, with a goodness peculiar to herself, she had 
" such satisfaction in my former services that she ap- 
" pointed me for another office." The greater part of 
the next two years was passed in this office ; which seems 
to have combined, with the duties of Secretary to the Eng- 
lish Commissioners for the Union, considerable influence 
derived from the Ministry at home. It was an important 
appointment, and Godolphin was assailed for it. An 
under spur-leather, forsooth, sent down to Scotland " to 
" make the Union ! " It carried De Foe at various inter- 
vals between Edinburgh and London ; it involved him in 
continual discussion leading to or arising out of the mea- 
sure, as well as in the riots which marked the excitement 
of the time ; it procured for him what appears to have 
been the really cordial and friendly attentions of the Duke 
of Queensberry and Lord Buchan ;' it directed his atten- 
tion to various matters which he believed to be essential 
to Scottish prosperity ; and it grounded in him a high 
respect and liking for the Scottish people. They had no 

^ In after years De Foe's grandson bore Lord Buchan's name, David 


truer friend or warmer advocate than De Foe in all subse- 
quent years. He liked their love of liberty, he admired 
their sober and grave observance of religious duties, he 
celebrated their good feeling and hospitality, and he 
pointed out the resources and capabilities of their soil. 
" They who fancy," he said, in a passage characteristic 
in the highest degree of his shrewd and sagacious observa- 
tion, and of his manly sense and spirit, *' there is nothing 
' to be had here but wild men and ragged mountains, 

* storms, snows, poverty, and barrenness, are quite mis- 
' taken ; it being a noble country, of a fruitful soil and 

* healthy air, well seated for trade, full of manufactures 

* by land, and a treasure as great as the Indies at their 
' door by sea. The poverty of Scotland, and the fruit- 

* fulness of England, or rather the difference between 
' them, is owing not to mere difference of climate, or the 
' nature of the soil ; but to the errors of time, and their 
' different constitutions. And here I must tell our friends 

* in England, who are so backward to set their country 
' free, and so willing to enslave us again, that the different 
^ face of the two countries, tp whoever will please to sur- 

* vey them as I have done, is the best lecture upon 
' politics. All the land in England is not fruitful, nor 

* that in Scotland all barren. Climate cannot be the 
' cause ; for the lands in the north of Scotland are in 
'■ general better than the lands in Cornwall, which are 

* near six hundred miles south of them. But Liberty and 
^ Trade have made the one rich, and Tyranny the other 
' poor." Nor did even such earnest eulogy suffice for 

the tribute he would render to the Scotch. He broke 
out again into verse, and wrote a poem in their praise ; 
he busied himself earnestly with suggestions for their com- 
mercial and national advancement; and he spent some 
well- devoted labour, in after years, on the compilation of 
a very minute, and, so to speak, highly dramatic History 
of the Union. We rejoice to have to couple that act, so 
eminently in the best spirit of the Eevolution, so large- 
minded and so tolerant, with De Foe's name. It changed 
turbulence to tranquillity ; rude poverty to a rich civi- 
lisation ; and the fierce atrocities of a dominant church, 
to the calm enjoyments of religious liberty. 

A strange scene was meanwhile going on in London. 

De Foe^l dismissal of harley. 125 

The easy, indolent Prince George (whom Charles II. 
said he had tried drunk and sober, and could do nothing 
with him) had been heard to complain one day, in the 
intervals of his dinner and his bottle, that the Queen 
came very late to bed. This casual remark, falling on the 
already sharp suspicions of the Duchess of Marlborough, 
discovered the midnight conferences of the Queen with 
Abigail Masham and her kinsman, Secretary Harley ; and 
the good Mrs. Freeman, knowing that her dear Mrs. 
Morley had not a stock of amity to serve above one object 
at a time, at once peremptorily insisted on the suspension 
of the Abigail, and the dismissal of the Secretary. We 
state the fact without comment ; but it may be remarked, 
that if Harley's back-stairs midnight visits impHed 
treachery to his colleagues, it was not of that black kind 
which would have ruined men who trusted him. It had 
been clear to the Secretary for some time, that the Whigs 
would not trust him. He says himself, and there is no 
reason to doubt it, that he was not enough of a party-man 
for them. One smiles, indeed, with a kind of sympathy 
for him, to read in Lord Cowper's diary of two years' 
date before this, his devotion of his best tokay ('' good, 
** but thick ") to the hapless effort of Whig conciliation. 
The accession of strength received from the great measure 
of the Union, had been straightway used to weed his 
friends from office. Hedges had made way for Sunder- 
land ; and even Prior and his colleagues, in the Board of 
Trade, had been removed. Nor was that an age in which 
party warfare was scrupulous on either side. In the 
session just begun, the party motion supported by 
Eochester and Buckingham, to ruin the Whig chiefs of 
the ministry, was supported by Somers and Wharton 
with the sole hope of ruining Harley. In now retiring, 
the Secretary's principal mortification would seem to 
have been the necessity it laid him under of joining an 
ultra-faction. He made a last attempt to conciliate 
Cowper and Somers. But the arrangements were made. 
To the ill-concealed grief and distress of the Queen, he 
and his friend St. John retired ; Robert Walpole entered 
the ministry ; Lord Somers was readmitted into the Privy 
Council ; Lord Cowper received the Great Seal ; and the 
imperious Duchess of Marlborough thought herself 

126 THE WITS AT will's COFFEE HOUSE. \_Daniel 

triumpliant. Slie had known Anne now forty years, but 
she did not know the strength of her sullen obstinacy. In 
a few months more, the death of the Prince threw fresh 
power into Whig hands. Somers became President of 
the Council, and Lord Wharton went to Ireland. He 
took with him, as Secretary, Mr. Joseph Addison. 

Mr. Addison was, at this time, less distinguished by the 
fame of his writings than by that of his sayings. He was 
the most popular man in the little commonwealth of Whig 
wits, who now met nightly (Button's was not yet esta- 
blished) at Will's coffee-house in Covent-garden. They 
were a kind of off-shoot from the more dignified club who 
ate mutton-pies at Kit Katt's the pastry-cook's ; and of 
which the principal literary members were Congreve, 
Garth, Yanbrugh, Steele, and Addison. The Revolution 
gave a new character, in giving new duties, to associa- 
tions of this kind. They were no longer what they were, 
when, in this same Will's coffee-house, then called The 
Eose, Dryden ruled the town wits from the Tory chair. 
They were a recognised class, with influence before un- 
known. In sketching the career of De Foe, we have 
indicated its rise and growth. The people were beginning 
to be important, and it was the only direct means of com- 
munication with the people. Thus, the Kttle party at 
WiU's were not sought, or courted, for the graces of their 
wit and literature alone. That pale, bright-eyed, sickly, 
deformed youth of one- and- twenty, whose Pastorals are 
so much talked of just now, may seek them for no better 
reason; but not for this are they sought by the tall, 
stem-looking, dark-faced Irish priest, whose forty-two 
years of existence have been a struggle of ill-endured 
dependence and haughty discontent, which he now resolves 
to redeem in the field of political warfare. Here, mean- 
while, he amuses himself and the town with Mr. Bicker- 
staff's joke against Mr. Partridge, suggesting to hearty 
Dick Steele those pleasant Lucubrations' of Isaac, which, 
in a few months more, are to take the town by storm ; or, 
it may be, showing privately to Addison that sneer against 
De Foe, worded with such malignant art, which he was 
about now to give to the world. " One of those authors 
" (the felloiv who icas pilloried, I have forgot his name) is 
" indeed so grave, sententious, dogmatical a rogue, that 

T)e Foe.'] copyright act passed. 127 

" there is no enduring him/' ' That was it ! There was 
profiting hy his labour ; there was copying the sugges- 
tions of his genius ; there was travelling to wealth and 
power along the path struck out hy his martyrdom ; hut, 
for this very reason, there was no enduring him. A man 
who will go into the pillory for his opinions, is not a 
" cluhable " man. Yet, at this very moment, De Foe 
was labouring for the interests of the literary class. For 
twenty years he had urged the necessity of a law to pro- 
tect an author's property in his writings, and in this 
session the Copyright Act was passed. The common law 
recognised a perpetual right, but gave no means of 
enforcing it ; the statute limited the right, and gave the 
means. It was a sort of cheat, but better than unlimited 

Notwithstanding Harley's retirement, De Foe con- 
tinued in the service of Godolphin's Ministry. But, at 
the special desire of Harley himself; to whom, as the 
person by whom he had first been employed for Anne, and 
whose apparently falling fortunes were a new claim of 
attachment, he considered himself bound. " Nay, not so, 
" Mr. De Foe," said Harley, " I shall not take it ill from 
" you in the least. Besides, it is the Queen you are serv- 
" ing, who has been very good to you." The words were 
well selected for continuance of the tenure by which the 
sagacious diplomatist had first engaged his services. He 
went to the Lord-Treasurer accordingly, who received 

* He hated him still worse, when " Books are printed by nobody, and 

he found him writing for Harley on * ' wrote by everybody. One man 

the same side with himself, and be- " prints another man's works, and 

came conscious that hack partisans " calls them his own ; another man 

on the other side did not scruple to *' prints his own, and calls them by 

couple them together, as "' fellow- *' the name of another. Continual 

"labourers in the service of the "robberies, piracies, and invasions 

*' white Staff." " He paid De Foe '* of property, occur in the occupa- 

*' better than he did Swift, looking " tion. One man shall study seven 

"on him as the shrewder head of "years to bring a finished piece 

"the two for business," is the " into the world; and, as soon as 

reckless assertion of Oldmixon. " produced, it shall be republished 

^ I have adverted to this subject "by some piratical printer at a 

in a previous note (ante, p. 105-7) ; " quarter of the price, and sold for 

but I may add, in a few pregnant ' * his own benefit. These things 

sentences from one of De Foe's Be- " call loudly for an act of parlia- 

riews of this date, a description ©f " ment." 
the existing abuses of the law : — 


him witli great friendliness, and told him, *' smiling," he 
had not seen him a long while. De Foe frankly men- 
tioned his obligations to Harley, and his fear that his 
interest might be lessened on that account. " Not at all, 
" Mr. De Foe," rejoined Godolphin ; " I always think a 
" man honest till I find the contrary." To which De 
Foe might have added, without rebuke, in the language 
he always afterwards used of Harley, " And I shall ever 
" preserve this principle, that an honest man cannot be 
*' ungrateful to his benefactor." The scrupulous author, 
nevertheless, considered it his duty, while now again 
engaged in ministerial employments,' entirely to cease 
communication with the rival statesman, tiU he again 
appeared as a pubKc minister. 

It was not very long. Nor had the Ministry, on the 
score of moderation at any rate, profited greatly by his 
absence ; while he, by the position of parties, was driven 
to the extreme of opposition. Despairing of the Queen's 
power to second her well-known incKnation, the High 
Church trumpet had again sounded to battle, and De Foe 
had again buckled on his armour of offence against both 

^ What these employments exactly " tell me the rest ; and so I with- 

"were, is not now known ; but they *' drew. The next day, his lordship 

were thus hinted at by himself, when " having commanded me to attend, 

lie defended his conduct after the ' * told me that he must send me to 

death of Anne : — '* After this re- *' Scotland, and gave me but three 

*' ception my Lord Godolphin had *' days to prepare myself, Accord- 

" the goodness, not only to introduce *' ingly, I went to Scotland, where 

*' me for the second time to her " neither my business nor the 

*' Majesty, and to the honour of *' manner of my discharging it is 

"kissing her hand, but obtained "material to this tract; nor will 

' ' for me the continuance of an ap- * ' it be ever any part of my cha- 

" pointment which her Majesty had " racter that I reveal what should 

*' been pleased to make me, in con- "be concealed. And yet my errand 

" sideration of a former special "was such, as was far from being 

' * service I had done, and in which ' ' unfit for a sovereign to direct, or 

" I had run as much risk of my " an honest man to perform ; and 

" life as a grenadier upon the " the service I did upon that occa- 

" counterscarp .... Upon this " sion, as it is not unknown to the 

"second introduction, her Majesty "greatest man now in the nation 

" was pleased to tell me with a " under the King and the Prince, 

"goodness peculiar to herself, that "so, I dare say, his Grace was 

" she had such satisfaction in my "never displeased with the part I 

" former services that she had ap- " had in it, and I hope will not 

"pointed me for another afiair, " forget it." The last allusion, I 

" which was something nice, and need hardly say, is to the Duke of 

" that my Lord- Treasurer should ]\Iarlborough. 

De Foe.'l short hixt to impartial writers. 129 

ultra-parties. Again, as he says himself, he went on 
freely telling offensive truths, regarding no censures, fear- 
ing no prosecutions, asking no favour of any man, making 
no court to any, and expecting not to oblige even those 
whom he thought the best of. It was now he told the world 
that fate of the unbiassed writer, with Avhich a celebrated 
journal of modern days has familiarized its readers. " If 
" I might give a short hint to an impartial writer, it 
" should be to tell him his fate. If he resolves to venture 
" upon the dangerous precipice of teUing unbiassed truths, 
" let him proclaim war with mankind a la mode le pays de 
** Pole J neither to give nor take quarter, (jf he tells the 
*' crimes of great men, they fall upon him with the iron 
" hands of the law ; if he tells them of their virtues, 
" when they have any, then the mob attacks him with 
" slander. But if he regards truth, let him expect 
" martyrdom on both sides, and then he may go on fear- 
" less. And this is the course I take myself.''^ It was now, 
describing his personal treatment by one of the Tory 
mobs, he told them the destiny of all who had ever 
served them. " He that will help you, must be hated 
*' and neglected by you, must be mobbed and plundered 
" for you, must starve and hang for you, and must yet 
" help you. And thus I do.'* 

We could give numberless instances from the Review 
itself, if space permitted ; but, limited as we are in this 
respect, it Tvill perhaps suffice if we turn to the Biary of 
LuttreU, and take a note or two from that voluminous 
record as the mere type or indication of a petty persecu- 
tion, quite wonderful for its eager activity, which from 
month to month, and year to year, was incessantly directed 
against this indomitable man. On one occasion, Tuesday 
the 15th of October 1706, LuttreU tells us (vi. 98) that 
Daniel De Foe was carried before the Lord Chief Justice 
Holt, for *' inserting a speech in his Review relating to 
" the Union, 'pretending the same was made by a great 
" lawyer, and was bound over for the same, himself in 
*' 200/, and two sureties in 100/ each." A year later, the 
same pains-taking authority informs us (vi. 215-16), the 
Swedish envoy had complained against De Foe for reflect- 
ing on his master in his Reviews of the 9th and 28th of 
August, and the 2nd of September ; and in consequence 


thereof, on Tuesday the 23rd of September 1707 (the same 
night on which his old antagonist, Tutchin of the Ohser- 
fatoTf died), there went into Scotland "an order to take 
" into custody Daniel De Foe for reflecting on the King of 
*' Sweden in his EeviezvJ' Again, not a month later, 
Luttrell tells us (under date of Saturday the 18th of 
October) that the Muscovite ambassador has complained 
against Daniel De Foe for the following expression in his 
Mevieio of the preceding Thursday, ^^ Money makes Chris- 
** tians fight for the Turks, money hires servants to the Devil, 
" nay, to the very Czar of Muscovy." As to which, 
on the next following Tuesday, the same trustworthy per- 
son further relates that, " The Earl of Sunderland has 
*' writ to the Muscovite Ambassador here, that he will 
" take care the author of the Revino shall be prosecuted 
" for the reflection upon his master." And so the pro- 
secution and persecution went on, and so went on De Foe ; 
mobbed and plundered by those whom he opposed, disliked 
and neglected by those whom he served, but expecting 
from both sides the martyrdom he received, and therefore 
still going on fearless. 

But now came suddenly again upon the scene De Foe's 
old friend Dr. Henry Sacheverell. This brawling priest 
attacked Godolphin in the pulpit by the name of Voljwne ; 
inveighed against Burnet and other bishops for not un- 
furling the bloody flag against Dissent; abused the 
Revolution as unrighteous ; and broadly reasserted non- 
resistance and passive obedience. The fellow was such 
a fool and madman that a serious thought should not have 
been wasted on him, whatever might be reckoned needful 
to discountenance his atrocious doctrines. This was the 
feeling of De Foe. When Harley called the sermon a 
" circumgyration of incoherent words", (in a speech thought 
to merit the same description), it seems to have been his 
feeling too. It was certainly that of Lord Somers, and 
of the best men in the cabinet. They all knew his noisy 
ignorance. His illustration of " parallel lines meeting in 
*' a centre," was a standing joke with the wits. But Vol- 
pone stuck to Godolphin, and an impeachment was resolved 
upon. The Minister little thought, when he took to what 
Burnet calls the luxury of roasting a parson, that the fire 
.would blaze high enough to roast himself and his colleagues. 

De Foe,'] sacheyerell's trial. 131 

Harley made a shrewder guess. He was dining with a 
friend in tlie country when the news reached him. " The 
" game is up," he cried; left the dinner-table, and hurried 
to London. In vain De Foe still urged, " Let us have 
*' the crime punished, not the man. The bar of the House 
" of Commons is the worst pillory in the nation." In that 
elevated pillory, Sacheverell Avas placed ; weU dressed, 
with clean gloves, with white handkerchief well managed, 
and with other suitable accomplishments ; — Atterbury, 
who secretly despised him, in affected sympathy by his 
side ; the mob without, screaming for their mart}T ; and 
women, high and low, frantic with admiration. "You 
*' could never embark the ladies," said De Foe, " till you 
" fell upon the clergy. As soon as you pinch the parson, 
" the women are one woman in his defence." His 
description of the interest created by the impeachment is 
one of his happiest pieces of quiet irony. It has also his- 
toric value. The ladies, he tells us, laid aside their 
chocolate, their china, and their gallantries, for State 
business; the Tatler, the immortal Tatler, the great 
Bickerstaff himself (to whom, let us remark by the way, 
De Foe, in his hearty admiration,' had lately resigned 
the offices of his own Scandal Club), was fain to leave off 
talking to them ; they had no leisure for church ; little 
Miss, still obliged to go, had the Doctor's picture put into 
her prayer-book ; even Punch laid aside his domestic 
broils, to gibber for the holy man ; and not only were the 
churches thinned, and the parks, but the very playhouses 
felt the effects, and Betterton died a beggar. Well had 
it been, however, if this were all. A series of horrible 
riots followed. Meeting-houses were pulled down ; the 
bloody flag was in reality unfurled ; mounted escorts, 
carrying martyr Sacheverell about the country, were 

1 This feeling led him soon after "doled him, examined him, &c. 

to condemn Steele for taking any " He should have let envy bark, 

public notice of Ids quondam friend " aad fools rail ; and, according to 

S^^'ift's vituperation. "For my "his own observation of the fable 

" part," he says, "I have always " of the sun, continued to shine on. 

*' thought that the weakest step the " This I have found to be agreeable 

" Tatler ever took, if that complete " to the true notion of contempt. 

*' author can be said to have done " Silence is the utmost slight nature 

*^ anything weak, was to stoop to "can dictate to a man, and the 

" take the least notice of the bark- " most insupportable for a vain man 

" iugs of the animals that have cou- " to bear." 

K 2 


everywhere the signal for the plunder and outrage of 
Dissenters; the martyr's printed defence (filled with 
abuse of De Foe and his Revietcs) circulated by tens 
of thousands; and Lord -Treasurer Godolphin was 
ordered to break his staff, and make way for Robert 

Harley took ofiice ; and at once began the work, which, 
whatever the motives we assign to him, and whatever the 
just faults we may find with the absence of decision in 
his mind and in his temper, we must admit that he con- 
tinued to the last^ of opposing, against his own interests, 
the exterminating policy of the party who had borne him 
into power. While several leading Whigs yet retained 
office, he again unsuccessfully attempted a coalition with 
Cowper and Walpole ; and it was not until wholly rebuffed 
in this quarter that he completed his High Tory cabinet, 
and determined to risk a dissolution. St. John was made 
secretary ; Harcourt had the great seal ; and he himself 
took the treasurer's staff. The elections gave him a 
majority, though not very decisive ; and Anne's celebrated 
Last Administration began its career. A man might pre- 
dict in some sort the course of it, who had seen the new 
Premier on the first of October ; the day before the meet- 
ing of Parliament. He was not at the palace of the 
Queen, nor in his office of business with Harcourt or 
St. John; but he was stopping in his coach at the 
St. James's coffee-house, to set down Jonathan Swift. 
" He knew my Christian name very well," says the 
Journal to Stella. On that day the reverend ex- Whig 
partizan had sent forth a lampoon against Godolphin, and 
had paid his first visit to Harley. On the 4th he dined 
with him. Afterwards, his visits were daily welcomed. 
The proud and long-neglected Priest found himself, on 
one and the same hopeful October day, dining for ten- 
pence in his old chop-house; then going "reeking" 
from thence to the first minister of state; and then, in 
charity, sending a Tatler to Steele, "who is very low 
" of late." Others were " low " too. There was Con- 
greve, a resolute Whig, and member of the Kit Katt, 
whose little place depended on the Ministry. But 
Harley quieted his fears with a happy quotation from 

De Foe.'\ interview with the LOHD-THEASniER. 133 

Kon obtusa adeo gestaraiis pectora Pceni, 

ISTec tarn aversus equos Tyria sol jungit ab urbe.^ 

• Whatever else, then, were the objections to this states- 
man, they did not lie on the score of his indifference to 
genius. The Administration organised, he sent for De 
Foe. A different course was needed with Daniel from 
that which had been taken with Jonathan. Harley knew 
De Foe thoroughly; and was certainly not sorry to know 
that the High Church majority in the Commons might 
have been much larger, but for his unwearied personal 
and public exertions against that faction, in the elections 
recently closed. De Foe distinctly states the result of 
the interview to have been, that he capitulated for liberty 
to speak according to his own judgment of things, and 
that he had this liberty allowed him. Nor did he 
wait on Harley, till he had first consulted the dismissed 
Godolphin ; who counselled him to consider himself as 
the Queen's servant, to wait until he saw things settled, 
and then to take her Majesty's commands from the new 
minister. In the same tone Harley conferred with him 
now. And if we couple the interview with the paper sent 
forth in the Review which first opened the fury of the 
"Whig batteries on De Foe, we shall find everything to 
confirm the impression here taken of it ; as well of the 
character of Harley himself, as of the honourable grounds 
of De Foe's conditional support. He states his opinion 
to be, that the Ministry must be carried on upon the 
foundation, and with the principles, of the Eevolution. 
This, he adds, even though mth it should come the fate 
of pleasing and displeasing all parties in their turn, can 
be the only safe guide where so many parties alternately 
govern, and where men of the same party have so often 
been of several opinions about the same thing. If, on 
the other hand, they reject such guidance, another kind 
of language would have to be talked to them. " For, let 
" not governors flatter themselves, nor people be dismayed 
" — the Revolution cannot be overthrown in Britain. It 
" is not in the power of ministry or party, prince or 
" parliament, to do it. If the attempt is made, let them 

^ " Our hearts are not so cold, nor '* Of Sol so distant from the race of 
flames the fire Tyre." 


" look to it that venture upon tlie attempt. The People 
" of England have tasted Liberty, and I cannot think 
^' they mil bear the exchange." He then says explicitly, 
that he shall not go along with the Ministry unless they 
go along with him. He exults in Harley's known 
inclination to the Whigs ; and indeed he argues that 
the Constitution is of such a nature, that, whoever may 
he in it, if they are faithful to their duty, " it ivill either 
"find them Whigs or make them so.'' In short, he lays it 
down as a truth not to he disputed, that they all had but 
one interest as Englishmen, whatever interest they might 
have as to parties. 

And upon these plain principles Daniel He Foe acted. 
They were principles professed by Swift two years later ; 
but never, we regret to say, whether later or earlier, impli- 
citly acted on by him. " I bear all the Ministry to be my 
" witnesses," he wrote to Steele, in whose Correspondence 
the letter may be found, " that there is hardly a man of 
" wit of the adverse party, whom I have not been so bold 
" as to recommend often and with earnestness to them : 
" for I think principles at present are quite out of the 
" case, and that we dispute wholly about persons. In 
*' these last, you and I differ : but in the other, I think 
" we agree; for I have in print professed myself in politics 
'' to be what we formerly called a Whig." And in two 
months from the date of the letter, he was covering this 
very Dick Steele with the most lavish contempt, for no 
better reason than that he held Whig principles. But he 
wrote for power, and got it ; while De Foe wrote for what 
he believed to be the public service, and got no reward 
but the consciousness of having done so. 

Compare Swift's Examiner with De Foe's Review^ and 
the distinction is yet more plain. It is earnest and manly 
reasoning against a series of reckless libels. Libels, 
too, in which the so-called advocate of Harley is de- 
nounced by Harley 's confidential friend as an illiterate 
idiot. " Much wit in that," quietly answered De Foe ; 
who never was seduced into party lampooning, who held 
that no difference of opinion should discharge the obli- 
gation of good manners,' and who, even at moments like 

^ At a time when De Foe waa troversy, it is for ever to be recorded 
engaged in his bitterest political con- to his honour, in that age of habitual 


these, held Swift's wit and genius in honour. " Now, I 
^* know a learned man at this time, an orator in the Latin, 
" a walking Index of books, who has all the libraries in 
" Europe in his head, from the Vatican at Rome to the 
" learned collection of Doctor Salmon at Fleet Ditch ; 
" but he is a cynic in behaviour, a fury in temper, unpolite 
" in conversation, abusive in language, and ungovernable 
" in passion. Is this to be learned ? Then may I still be 
" illiterate. I have been, in my time, pretty well master 
" of five languages, and have not lost them yet, though I 
" write no bill over my door, nor set Latin quotations in 
" any part of the Review. But, to my irreparable loss, I 
" was bred only by halves ; for my father, forgetting 
" Juno's royal academy, left the language of Billingsgate 
" quite out of my education. Hence I am, in the polite 
'^ style of the street, perfectly illiterate ; and am not fit to 
" converse with the porters and carmen of quality, who 
" adorn their diction wtth the beauties of calling names, 
" and cursing their neighbour with a bonne grace. I have 
" had the honour to fight a rascal, but never could muster 
" the eloquence of calling a man so." This was the manly 
and calm spirit of every return vouchsafed by the author of 
the Review to the cross-fire that now assailed him. He was 
content, whether defending or opposing, to stand Alone. 
He did not think the Brothers' Club had helped the 
Ministry, nor that the Scriblerus Club would be of any 
service to Literature. He preferred to stand where he 

libel and reckless personal abuse, '* satisfy you. I have not been 

that hethus wrote to his antagonist : " desirous of giving just offence to 

" But to state the matter fairly be- " you, neither would I to any man, 

" tween you and me, as writing for " however I may differ from him ; 

*' different interests, and so possibly *' and I see no reason why I should 

** coming under an unavoidable *' affront a man's person, because I 

"necessity of jarring in several *' do not join with him in principle. 

" cases, I am ready to make a fair '* I always thought that men might 

"truce of honour with you, viz. *' dispute without railing, and dif- 

" that if what either party are doing " fer without quarrelling, and that 

" or saying may clash with the party "opinions need not affect our 

" we are for, and urge us to speak, "temper," Most admirably and 

" it shall be done without naming wisely did he say on another occa- 

"either's name, and without personal sion, in reference to the same vile 

* ' reflections ; and thus we may differ habit of personal recrimination, ' ' I 

"still, and yet preserve both the " have always carefully avoided lash- 

" Christian and the gentleman. " ing any man's private infirmities, 

"This, 1 think, is an offer may " as being too sensible of my owu." 


did ; " unplaced, unpensioned, no man's heir or slave ;" 
in frank and free communication with his countrymen. 
And therefore was he assailed hy Tory scribes on the one 
hand, and by Whig scribes on the other, who could yet only 
join their attacks on the one point of accusing him of a 
hankering after place. " And what place do I write for ? " 
he pleasantly asked. " I have not yet inquired whether 
" there is a vacancy in the press-yard ; but I know of no 
" place anybody could think I should be writing for, 
" unless it be a place in Newgate, for this truly may be 
" the fate of any body that dare to speak plainly to men 
" in power." The same charge had been brought against 
him while yet the old Whigs held office. " As to places, 
" I have been seven years under what we call a Whig 
" government, and have not been a stranger to men in 
" power. I have had the honour to be told I served that 
" government ; the fury of an enraged party has given 
" their testimony to it, and I could produce yet greater ; 
" but the man is not alive of whom I have sought pre- 
** ferment or reward. If I have espoused a wrong cause ; 
" if I have acted in a good cause in an unfair manner ; 
" if I have, for fear, favour, or by the bias of any man in 
" the world, great or small, acted against what I always 
" professed, or what is the known interest of the nation ; 
" if I have any way abandoned that glorious principle of 
" truth and liberty, which I ever was embarked in, and 
" which I trust I shall never, through fear or hope, step 
" one inch back from, — if I have done thus, then, as 
" Job says in another case, ' Let thistles grow instead 
*' * of wheat, and cockles instead of barley ;' then, and 
" not till then, may I be esteemed a mercenary, a mis- 
" sionary, a spy, or what you please. But, if the cause 
*' be just, if it be the peace, security, and happiness of 
" both nations, if I have done it honestly and effectually 
" — how does it alter the case if I have been fairly 
'' encouraged, supported, and rewarded in the work, as 
"God knows I have not? Does the mission disable the 
" messenger, or does it depend upon the merit of the 
" message ? " * 

^ His experiences derived from stated in another of his ■writings. 
Buch support as he had given Har- After telling the story of a malcon- 
ley's government, were very happily tent, " of a reign not many years 

T)e Foe.'\ a tebtor and creditor accouxt. 137 

And now, as tlie best comment we can make upon this 
manly avowal, let us briefly state De Foe's debtor-and- 
creditor account with the Administration of Eobert 

He supported him against the October Club ; a party 
of a hundred country gentlemen, who drank October ale, 
and would have driven things to extremes against the 
Whigs. He supported him against the bigot Rochester ; 
and against the tiery, impatient Bolingbroke. He sup- 
ported him against the Whigs ; when the Whigs, to 
avenge their party disappointments, laid aside their 
noblest principles, and voted with Lord Findlater for the 
dissolution of the Scottish Union. He supported him 
also against the Whigs, when, for no nobler reason, they 
joined with his old enemy Lord Nottingham, to oppress 
and disable the Dissenters. And again he supported him 
against the Whigs, when, speaking through their ablest 
and most liberal representatives, the WalpoleS; and the 
Stanhopes, they declared emphatically, and in all circum- 
stances, for a total prohibition of trade mth France. 
It was on this latter question De Foe would seem to have 
incurred their most deadly hatred. He had achieved the 
repute of a great authority in matters of the kind ; and 

" behind ns" (whether he -wrote '* them stopped ; like a sort of dogs 

Postboys or Examiners, De Foe " I have met with, that, when they 

humorously interposes, authors are * ' attend under your table, bark 

not agreed), who, when an argu- " that they may be fed. 1 remem- 

ment was brought a little too close '* ber a man of some note who 

to him, said, " Sir, you would rail '* practised this with great success, 

" as I do, if you were not bribed ;" " and canted a long while in the 

to which the other replied, "Ay, *' House of Commons about abuses 

" and you would be quieter than I, "in the management, misapplying 

"if anybody would bribe you;" — "the public treasure, making 

he proceeds to remark : "Three "felonious treaties, and the like ; 

' ' sorts of men always rail at a Gro- ' * but a wise old fox no sooner 

*' vernment. First, those whose " halved his den to this badger, 

" opinion of their own merit makes " but he put a stop to the clamour, 

' ' them think they are never well " and the nation's treasure was 

"enough rewarded. The second " never misapplied since, because a 

" sort are those, who, having en- " good share of it ran his way." 

"joyed favours, but being found The wise old reynard was Sir 

"unworthy, are discarded from Stephen Fox ; and the quieted bad- 

" their offices ; these always rail ger, a certain notorious place-hunter 

" as if they had never been obliged, of the parliament of William and 

" But we have a third sort of peo- Anne, Mr. John Howe, MP, whom 

" pie who always go with their Sir Stephen made joint Paymaster 

"mouths open, in order to have of the Forces with himself. 


he threw it all into the scale in favour of Bolingbroke's 
treaty. He wrote on it often and largely ; with eminent 
ability, and with great effect. His view briefly was, that 
the principle of a free trade, unencumbered by prohibi- 
tions, and with very moderate duties, was "not only 
" equal and just, but proceeding on the true interest of 
" trade, and much more to the advantage of Britain than 
" of France." ^ What disadvantages of unpopularity such 
reasoning had then to contend with, we need not say ; the 
cry of Trade and Wool did as much for the Whigs, as that 
of Sacheverell and the Church had done for the Tories ; 
but He Foe opposed both alike, and it is not very pro- 
bable that he will be traduced for it now. 

But we have not yet stated the reverse of his account 
in connection with Robert Harley's Administration. It 
it not less honourable to him. 

He did not oppose the Peace when settled ; but while 
it was in progress he opposed the terms. He desired 
peace ; but he did not think the Spanish guarantees sufii- 
cient. He thought that Europe had been saved by the 
policy of William and the Whigs, and by the genius of 
Marlborough ; but he did not approve of the violent 
method of winding up the war. He was, in short, glad 
when it was done, but would have been ashamed to take 
part in doing it : and the best judgment of posterity, we 
believe, confirms that judgment. He opposed the crea- 
tion of Peers. He opposed strongly, while the Whigs 
made the feeblest resistance, the Parliamentary Qualifica- 
tion act ; which he condemned for a lurking tendency to 
give preponderance to the landed interest. He opposed 
the Occasional Conformity bill; though his position 

1 He argued this question of Free traordinarily scarce. When Mr. 

Trade, which he dealt with in a Wilson published his Life of De 

spirit greatly in advance of his Foe, he had not been able to get 

time, chiefly in a government paper sight of a copy. One of the very 

called the Mercator, set on foot by few in existence belongs to my 

Harley, in which he had no per- friend Mr. Crossley of Manchester, 

sonal or pecuniary interest, and who justly describes it as "replete 

over which (though he was very un- " with the vigour, the life and ani- 

justly made responsible for all its " mation, the various and felicitous 

contents) he exercised no control ; *' power of illustration, which this 

but to whose pages he contributed a "great and truly English author 

series of most remarkable papers on " could impart to any subject." 
commercial subjects. It is now ex- 

De Foe.'] harley and bolingbroke opposed. 139 

respecting it was such tliat lie might fairly have kept his 
peace. He opposed the Tax upon Papers ; and bitterly- 
denounced the malignant attack upon the Press which 
signalised Bolingbroke's few days' Ministry. He concen- 
trated all his strength of opposition against the same 
statesman's Schism bill ; in which an attempt was made 
to deprive Dissenters of all share in the work of educa- 
tion, grounded precisely on those preposterous High 
Church claims which we have seen flagrantly revived in 
more recent days. Let us show, by a memorable passage 
from the Review, how httle Church pretensions and extra- 
vagances alter, while all else alters around them. " AVho 
" are they that at this juncture are so clamorous against 
*' Dissenters, and are eagerly soliciting for a further 
" security to the Church ? Are they not that part of the 
" clergy who have already made manifest advances towards 
** the s}Tiagogue of Rome ? they who preach the inde- 
" pendency of the Church on the State ? who urge the 
*' necessity of auricular confession, sacerdotal absolution, 
" extreme unction, and prayer for the dead ? who expressly 
*' teach the real presence in the Lord's Supper, which they 
" will have to be a proper sacrifice ? and who contend for 
*' the practice of rebaptising, wherein they overshoot the 
" Papists themselves ? Are they not they who are loudly 
" clamorous for those church lands which, to the unspeak- 
" able detriment of the public, were in the days of igno- 
" ranee given to impudent begging friars ? " Finally, 
when it was whispered about that the leading Ministers 
were intriguing for the succession of the Pretender ; 
and when it was reported everywhere that the mani- 
festo of the Jacobites against a Protestant succession 
lay splendidly bound in the Queen's closet at Windsor ; 
De Foe wrote and published those three pamphlets, 
which, for prompt wit and timely satire, may be classed 
with his best efforts : A Seasonable Caution. — What if the 
Pretender should come ? — and, What if the Queen should 
die ? 

It is almost inconceivable that the Whigs should have 
led the cry against him on the score of these admirable 
pieces ; but it is another proof of the blindness of party 
malice. The men of whose principles throughout life he 
had been the sturdiest advocate, were the Dissenters and 

140 AGAIN IN NEWGATE. [^Daniel 

the Whigs ; and, as he had to thank the one for his 
earliest experience of a prison, for his latest he had now 
to thank the other. A great Whig light, Mr. Auditor 
Benson, commenced a prosecution against him, at his 
private cost, for desiring by these works to favour the 
Jacobite succession ; their mode of recommending the 
Jacobite succession having been, to say that it would con- 
fer on every one the privilege of wearing wooden shoes, 
and ease the nobility and gentry of the hazard and ex- 
pense of winter journeys to Parliament ! But dulness had 
the odds against wit, in this as in the former instance ; 
and the prosecutors had no difficulty in finding judges to 
tell Be Foe, " that they contained matter for which he 
*' might be hanged, drawn, and quartered." He was ac- 
cordingly thrown again into Newgate ; and might possibly 
again have been taken from thence to the pillory, but for 
the interposition of Harley, now Lord Oxford. He repre- 
sented the matter to the Queen ; and made known to Be 
Foe the opinion expressed by Anne. " She saw nothing 
" but private pique in it." A pardon was issued by 
Bolingbroke, and the prisoner released. But not until, 
with an instinct that the end was now approaching, he 
had brought his JReview to a close, within the hard un- 
genial walls wherein it had begun. It was with a some- 
what sorrowful retrospect he closed it, but not without a 
dignified content. There were two sorts of people out of 
reach by the world, he said — those that are above, and 
those that are below it ; they might be equally happy, 
for aught he knew ; and between them he was not un- 
willing to accept the lot, which, as it placed him below 
envy, yet lifted him far above pity. In the school of 
affliction, he bethought him he had learned more philoso- 
phy than at the academy, and more divinity than from 
the pulpit ; in prison, he had learned to know that liberty 
does not consist in open doors, or the free egress and re- 
gress of locomotion. He had seen the rough and smooth 
sides of the world, and tasted the difference between the 
closet of a King and the Newgate dungeon. Here, in 
the dungeon, he had still, " with humblest acknowledg- 
" ments" to remember that a glorious Prince had " loved" 
him ; and, whatever Fortune had still in store, he felt 
himself not unfit, by all this discipline, for serious applica- 

De Foe.'\ triumph of the whigs. 141 

tion to the great, solemn, and weighty work, of resigna- 
tion to the will of Heaven. 

The cheerful and pious resignation for which De Foe 
had so prepared himself, he needed when the crisis came. 
It is not our province here to dwell on the memorable 
scenes of 1714, which consigned Oxford to the Tower 
and Bolingbroke to exile ; shattered the Tory Party ; 
settled the succession of Hanover ; and fixed the "VYhigs 
in power. The principles for which De Foe had con- 
tended all his Hfe, were at last securely established ; and 
for his reward, he had to show the unnoticed and 
unprotected scars of thirty-two years' incessant po- 
Htical conflict. But he retired as he had kept the field 
— with a last hearty word for his patron Harley ; and 
with a manly defence against the factious slanders which 
had opened on himself. He probably heard the delighted 
scream of Mr. Boyer, as his figure disappeared ; to the 
effect of how fully he had been " confuted by the ingenious 
" and judicious Joseph Addison, esquire." Doubtless he 
also smiled to observe what Whig rewards for pure Whig 
service were now most plentifully scattered. The inge- 
nious Joseph Addison, esquire. Secretary of State ; Mr. 
Steele, Sir Richard, and Surveyor of the royal stables ; 
Mr. Tickell, Irish Secretary ; Mr. Congreve, twelve 
hundred a-year ; Mr. Rowe, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Ambrose 
Phillips, all snugly and comfortably sinecured. For 
himself, he was in his fifty-fourth year ; and, after a life 
of bodily and mental exertion that would have worn down 
a score of ordinary men, had to begin life anew. 

Into that new life we shall enter but briefly. It is 
plain to all the world. It is the life by which he became 
immortal* It is contained in the excellent books which 
are named at the head of this article; and there the world 
may read it, if they will. What we sought to exhibit 
here, we trust we have made sufiiciently obvious. After 
all the objections that may be justly made to his opinions, 
on the grounds of shortcoming or excess, we believe that 
in the main features of the career we have set before the 
reader, will be recognised a noble English example of 
the quaHties most prized by Englishmen. De Foe is 
our only famous politician and man of letters, who repre- 


I sented, in its inflexible constancy, sturdy dogged resolu- 
\ tion, unwearied perseverance, and obstinate contempt of 
Ndanger and of tyranny, the great Middle-class English 
character. We beheve it to be no mere national pride to 
say, that, whether in its defects or its surpassing merits, 
the world has had none other to compare with it. He lived 
in the thickest stir of the conflict of the four most violent 
party reigns of English history ; and, if we have at last 
entered into peaceful possession of most part of the rights 
at issue in those party struggles, it the more becomes us 
to remember such a man with gratitude, and with wise 
consideration for what errors we may find in him. He was 
too much in the constant heat of the battle, to see all that 
we see now. He was not a philosopher himself, but he 
helped philosophy to some wise conclusions. He did not 
stand at the highest point of toleration, or of moral 
wisdom ; but, with his masculine active arm, he helped to 
lift his successors over obstructions which had stayed his 
own advance. He stood, in his opinions and in his actions, 
alone and apart from his fellow-men ; but it was to show 
his fellow-men of later times the value of a juster and 
larger fellowship, and of more generous modes of action. 
And when he now retreated from the world Without to 
the world Within, in the solitariness of his unrewarded 
service and integrity, he had assuredly earned the right 
to challenge the higher recognition of Posterity. He 
was walking towards History with steady feet ; and might 
look up into her awful face with a brow unabashed and 

Here was his language, when, withdrawn finally and 
for ever from the struggle, he calmly reviewed the part 
he had taken in it. " I was, from my first entering into 
" the knowledge of public matters, and have ever been to 
" this day, a sincere lover of the constitution of my country ; 
" zealous for Liberty and the Protestant interest : but a 
" constant follower of moderate principles, and a vigorous 
" opposer of hot measures in all. I never once changed 
*' my opinion, my principles, or my party ; and let what 
" will be said of changing sides, this I maintain, that I 
" never once deviated from the Revolution principles, nor 
" from the doctrine of liberty and property on which it 
** was founded." Describing the qualities that should 


distinguisli a man who, in those critical time?, elected so 
to treat of public affairs, he added : " Find him where 
" you will, this must be his character. He must be one 
" that, searching into the depths of truth, dare speak her 
" aloud in the most dangerous times ; that fears no face, 
" courts no favour, is subject to no interest, bigoted to no 
" party, and will be a hypocrite for no gain. I icill not 
" sap lam the man. I leave that to posterity." 

His last poKtical Essay was written in 1715 ; and while 
the proof-sheets lay uncorrected before him, he was 
struck with apoplexy. After some months' danger he 
rallied ; and in the three following years sent forth a 
series of works, chiefly moral and religious, and of which 
the Family Instructor and the Religious Courtship may be 
mentioned as the types, which were excellently adapted 
to a somewhat limited purpose, and are still in very high 
esteem. They are far too numerous even for recital here. 
They had extraordinary popularity ; went through count- 
less editions ; and found their way not only in handsome 
setting-forth to the King's private library, but on rough 
paper to all the fairs and markets of the kingdom. In 
the fact that Goldsmith makes his lively Livy Primrose 
as thoroughly acquainted with the dialogue in Religious 
Courtship y as she is with the argument of man Friday and 
his Master in Robinson Crusoe, and with the disputes of 
Thwackum and Square in Tom Jones, we may see in what 
vogue they continued to that date. But beyond, and up 
to the beginning of the century, they were generally 
among the standard prize books of schools ; and might be 
seen lying in coarse workman-garb, with Pomfrefs Poems 
or Hervey's Meditations, on the window-seat of any trades- 
man's house. Grave moral and religious questions had, 
in truth, not before been approached with anything like 
that dramatic liveliness of manner. To the same popu- 
larity were also in later years committed, such half- 
satirical, half-serious books, as the Political History of the 
Devil; of which, strong plain sense, and a desire to 
recommend, by liveliness of treatment, the most homely 
and straightforward modes of looking into moral and reli- 
gious questions, were again the distinguishing charac- 
teristics. Other works of miscellaneous interest will be 
found recited in the careful catalogue of De Foe's \vritings 


(upwards of two hundred in all) compiled by Mr. Walter 
"Wilson. The most remarkable of these was probably the 
Complete English Tradesmany in which you see distinctly 
reflected many of the most solid and striking points of 
De Foe's own character ; and, let us add, of the general 
character of our middle-class countrymen. The plays of 
Heywood, Massinger, and Ben Jonson, do not give us the 
citizens of their time more vividly, nor 'better contrast the 
staidness and the follies of old and of young, than De Foe 
has here accomplished for the traders of William and 
Anne. We are surprised to be told that this book was 
less popular than others of its class ; but perhaps a certain 
surly vein of satire which was in it, was the reason. A 
book which tends, however justly, to satirize any com- 
munity iu general, readers included, is dangerous to its 
author's popularity, however the public may like satire in 
particular, or when aimed at special classes. Our hasty 
summary would be incomplete, without a reference to his 
many publications on points of domestic economy, and on 
questions of homely, domestic morals ; to his occasional 
satires in verse ; or to a timely and powerful series of 
strictures on London Life, in which he earnestly sug- 
gested the necessity of a Metropolitan University, of a 
.FoundHng Hospital, and of a well- organised system of 
'Police. He also again attacked the stage, on the success 
of the Beggar 8 Opera ; and here, confusing a little the 
prose and poetry of the matter, made that excellent piece 
responsible for a coarse drama on the subject of the re- 
cently hanged Jack Sheppard.* In this discussion he 

^ *' Our rogues," he says, "are '* dency than the former: for in 

" grown more wicked than ever ; *' this. Jack Sheppard is made the 

"and vice of all kinds is so much "head of the drama, and runs 

*' winked at, that robbery is ac- " through such a scene of riot and 

' ' counted a pretty crime. We take * ' success, that but too many weak 

' ' pains to puff them up in their vii'- ' ' minds have been drawn away ; 

" lainy ; and there is one set out in "and many unwary persons so 

" so amiable a light in the ^cf/^ar's "charmed with his appearance on 

' ' Opera, it has taught them to * * the stage, dressed in that elegant 

" value themselves on their profes- "manner, and his pockets so well 

" sion, rather than to be ashamed " lined, they have forthwith com- 

" of it. Not content with the mis- " menced street-robbers or house- 

" chief done by the ^e^.7ar's 0/)era, " breakei's ; so that every idle fel- 

** we must have a Quaker's Opera " low, weary of honest labour, need 

" forsooth, of much more evil ten- " but fancy himself a Macheath or 

De Foe.l^ series of works of fiction. 145 

again encountered his old enemy, now the Dean of St. 
Patrick's; and, moving the spleen of Swift's dearest 
friend, got himself niched in the Dimciad. But the as- 
sailant lived to regret it more than the assailed, and to 
confess to his friend Spence, that, out of aU the countless 
works written hy " restless Daniel," there was not one 
that did not contain some good, — in other words, that did 
not brand reproach on the man who had stigmatised their 
author as a dunce. 

Meanwhile, concurrently with these works, there had 
appeared a more memorable series from the same untiring 
hand. In 1719, being then in his fifty-eighth year, he 
had given Rohinson Crusoe to the world ; but not until he 
had first wearily gone the round of all the trade, and at 
last, with enormous difficulty, had found a purchaser and 
publisher. Paternoster Pow is not bound to find out the 
value of genius, until it begins to sell. With Rohinson 
Crusoe's successors there was less difficulty. In 1720 he 
had published the Life and Piracies of Captain Singleton; 
the Dumb Philosopher ; and Duncan Camphell. In 1721, 
the Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders. In 1722, 
the Life and Adventures of Colonel Jack; and the Journal 
of the Plague Year. In 1723, the Memoirs of a Cavalien, 
In 1724, Roxana. In 1725, the New Voyage round the , 

World. And in 1728, the Life of Captain C^ mMojh. He SW^j^U 
was at work upon a new production at the close of 1729, 
as we shall shortly see, and apologises to his printer for 
having delayed the proofs through " exceeding illness." 
It never appeared. 

Of Rohinson Crusoe it is needless to speak. Was there 
ever any thing written by mere man but this, asked Doctor 
Johnson, that was wished longer by its readers ? It is a 

" a Sheppard, and there's a rogue "pattern." Gay sneered at De Foe, 

** at once." It is rather curious as a fellow who had excellent natural 

that in the same pamphlet De Foe parts, but wanted a small founda- 

makes a concession we would hardly tion of learning ; and as a lively 

have expected from his earlier op- instance of those wits who, as an 

position to all stage performances. ingenious author says, "will endure 

" Since example has so much force," " but one skimming : " with which 

he says, "the stage should exhibit sneer the judicious reader may pro- 

" nothing but what might be repre- bably be disposed to connect the 

" sented before a bishop. They may passage just quoted from De Foe 

" be merry and wise ; let them about Gay's masterpiece. 
" take the Provoked Husband for a 




standard piece in every European language; its popu- 
larity has extended to every civilized nation. The tra- 
veller Burckhardt found it translated into Arabic, and 
heard it read aloud among the wandering tribes in the 
cool hours of evening. It is devoured by every boy; and, 
as long as a boy remains in the world, he will' clamour 
for Robinson Crusoe. It sinks into the bosom while the 
bosom is most capable of pleasurable impressions from 
the adventurous and the marvellous ; and no human work, 
we honestly believe, has afforded such great delight. 
Neither the Iliad nor the Odyssey, in the much longer 
course of ages, has incited so many to enterprise, or to 
reHance on their own powers and capacities. It is the 
romance of solitude and self-sustainment ; and could only 
so perfectly have been written by a man whose own life * 

^ That De Foe in some sort intend- 
ed the adventures, even of the first 
part of Eobinson Crusoe, as a kind of 
type of what the dangers and vicissi- 
tudes and surprising escapes of his 
own life had been, appears to be con- 
fessed in his Crusoe's Serious Reflec- 
tions. Towards the close of that book 
l^is unmistakeable passage occurs : — 
" Had the common way of writing 
" a man's history been taken, and 
" I had given you the conduct or 
*' life of a man you knew, and 
" whose misfortunes and infirmi- 
*' ties perhaps you had sometimes 
" unjustly triumphed over, all I 
*' could have said would have 
" yielded no diversion, and perhaps 
" scarce have obtained a reading, 
"or at best no attention ; the 
" teacher, like a greater, having 
" no honour in his own country." 
But more explicit and remarkable 
still, is the preface to this same 
work, in which, speaking of the 
objection that had been urged 
against the former volumes oi Robin- 
son Crusoe as wholly fictitious, he 
adds that " the story, though alle- 
*' gorical, is also historical. It is 
"the beautiful representation of a 
' ' life of unexampled misfoi-tunes, 
" and of a variety not to be met 
** with in the world. Farther, 
" there is a man alive, and well 

" known too, the actions of whose 
" life are the subject of these vol- 
" umes, and to whom all or most 
_ * ' part of the story most directly 
'"alludes." He then recounts a 
number of particulars necessary 
for the purposes of his narrative ; 
and says: "The adventures of 
"Robinson Crusoe are one whole 
" scene of real life of eight-and- 
" twenty years, spent in the most 
"wandering, desolate, and afflict- 
' ' ing circumstances that ever a man 
" went through ; and in which I 
' ' have lived so long a life of won- 
" ders, in continual storms ; fought 
" with the worst kind of savages 
" and man-eaters, by unaccountable 
"surprising incidents; fed by 
" miracles greater than that of 
" raveng ; suffered all manner of 
" violences and oppressions, inju- 
" rious reproaches, contempt of 
" men, attacks of devils, corrections 
" from heaven, and oppositions on 
" earth ; have had innumerable ups 
" and downs in matters of fortune, 
" been in worse slavery than Turk- 
' ' ish, escaped by as exquisite man- 
" agement as that in the story of 
" Xury and the boat of Salee, been 
" taken up at sea in distress, raised 
" again and depressed again, and 
" that oftener perhaps in one man's 
' ' life than ever was known before ; 

De Foe.'j art of natural story-telling. 147 

had for the most part been passed in the independence of 
unaided thought, accustomed to great reverses, of inex- 
haustible resource in confronting calamities, leaning ever 
on his Bible in sober and satisfied belief, and not afraid 
at any time to find himself Alone, in communion with 
nature and with Gfod. Nor need we here repeat, what 
has been said so well by many critics, that the secret of 
its fascination is its Reality. The same is to be said, in 
a no less degree, of the Mistoty of the Plague; which, for 
the grandeur of the theme and the profoundly afi'ecting 
familiarity of its treatment, for the thrilling and homely 
touches which paint at once the moral and the physical 
terrors of a pestilence, is one of the noblest prose epics 
of the language. These are the masterpieces of De Foe. 
These are the works wherein his power is at the highest, 
and which place him not less among the practical benefac- 
tors than among the great writers of our race. " Why, this 
" man could have founded a colony as well as governed it," 
said a statesman of the succeeding century, amazed at the 
knowledge of various kinds, and at the intimate acquaint- 
ance with all useful arts, displayed in Robinson Crusoe. Nor, 
within the more limited range they occupy, is power less 
manifest in his other fictions. While undoubtedly open 
to objections on a different score, the Moll Flanders, the 
Colonel Jack, . and the Roxana, are not less decisive 
examples of a wonderful genius. In their day, too, they 
had no unwise or hurtful efi'ect ; for certainly they had a 
tendency to produce a more indulgent morality, and 
larger fair play to bad and good. That we question the 
wisdom of now reviving them as they were written, we 
will frankly confess ; but, as models of fictitious narrative, 
in common with all the writings of De Foe they are 
supreme. The art of natural story-telling, which can 
discard every resort to mere writing or reflection, and rest 
solely on what people, in peculiar situations, say and do, 
just as if there were no reader to hear all about it, has 
had no such astonishing illustrations. High authorities 
have indeed thought them entitled to still higher dignity. 

"ship-wrecked often, though more "allusion to a real story, and 

" by land than by sea ; — in a word, " chimes part for part, and step for 

*' there is not a circumstance in the ** step, with the inimitable life of 

" imaginary story but has its just *' Robinson Crusoe.". 


^*^ OF THE^^^!)^ 


Some one asked Doctor E/obertson to advise him as to a 
good historical style. " Eead De Foe," replied the great 
historian. Colonel Jack's life has been commonly re- 
printed in the genuine accounts of highwaymen; Lord 
Chatham thought the Cavalier a real person, and his 
description of the civil wars the best in the language ; 
Doctor Mead quoted the book upon the Plague as the 
. ^ . narrative of an eyewitness ; and Doctor Johnson sat up all 
' ^' ' " night over Captain ^nrl fttny) ^c^ tti p-m oi rs, as a new work of 
t^h '"^^^ English history he wondered not to have seen before. In 
- ^tiUL particular scenes, too, of the three tales we are more 
' immediately considering (those of the prison in Moll 
Flanders, of Susannah in Roxana, and of the boyhood in 
Colonel Jack), the highest masters of prose, fiction have 
never surpassed them either in power or in pathos, in the 
subtle portraiture of humanity or in a profound acquaint- 
ance with life. But it will remain the chief distinction 
of De Foe to have been, in these minor tales of English 
scenes and manners, the father of the illustrious family 
of the English Novel. Swift directly copied from him ; 
Richardson founded his style of minute narrative wholly 
upon him ; Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, and Goldsmith, — 
Godwin, Scott, Bulwer, and Dickens, — have been more or 
less indebted to him. Shall we scruple to add, then, that 
' while he remains unapproached in his two great master- 
pieces, he has been surpassed in his minor works by these 
his successors? His language is as easy and copious, 
but less elegant and harmonious; his insight into cha- 
racter is as penetrating, but not so penetrating into the 
heart ; his wit and irony are as playful, but his humour 
is less genial and expansive ; and he wants the delicate 
fancy, the richness of imagery, the sympathy, the truth, 
and depth of feeling, which will keep the later Masters of 
our English Novel the delightful companions, the gentle 
monitors, the welcome instructors, of future generations. 
So true it is, that every great writer promotes the next 
great writer one step; and in some cases gets himself 
superseded by him. 

While his gigantic labours were in progress, De Foe 
seems to have lived almost wholly at his favourite New- 
ington. His writings had been profitable. He got little 
for Rohimon Crusoe, but was paid largely for its successors. 

De Foe.'\ living at newington. 


We have occasional glimpses of him still engaged in mer- 
cantile speculation ; purchasing and assigning leases ; 
disposing of South Sea stock ; and otherwise attending to 
worldly affairs. But we do not see him steadily till 1724 ; 
and our manner of seeing him then, heing peculiar and 
characteristic, will bear somewhat of detailed relation. 

A young gentleman named Baker, known in later years 
as a somewhat celebrated philosophical inquirer, a writer 
on the microscope, and principal founder of the Society of 
Arts, introduces the great author to us at this time. En- 
gaged at the outset of his life as a tutor in two families, 
Mr. Henry Baker divided each week between Enfield and 
Newington ; and, as he informs us in the MS.' narrative 
from which we derive these facts, " at both places I soon 
"became acquainted with all the people of fashion ; " when 
suddenly, at one of the fashionable abodes in this sub- 
urban world, he tumbled over head and ears in love with 
a charmingly pretty girl, the youngest of three daughters 
who lived in a large and handsome house in Church- 
street, which their father had newly-built.* The father 

* This manuscript, in the hand- 
writing of Mr. Baker himself, exactly 
as left by him, is now in my pos- 
session. Only a few lines from it 
were quoted by Mr. Wilson in his 
biography of De Foe. [I860.] 

2 The fact of his having newly 
built it has been doubted, but his 
son-in-law's authority ought to be 
accepted on this point. He certainly 
did not occupy it till shortly before 
the time mentioned. It is still 
standing. It is the one which was 
occupied by the late Mr. William 
Frend, of the Rock life-office, and 
which his widow continued to oc- 
cupy. It is on the south side of 
Church-street, a little to the east of 
Lordship-lane or road, and has 
about four acres of ground attached, 
bounded on the west by a narrow 
footway, once (if not still) called 
Cut-throat-lane. Or it may be 
identified thus : take the map of 
Stoke Newington in Robinson's 
history of that place, London, 
1820, 8vo, and look directly below 
the first "e" in Church-street. 

Among the papers by which the 
house is held, is the copy of the 
enrolment of a surrender to the 
lord of the manor dated February 
26, 1740, in which the house is 
described as " heretofore in the 
"tenure or occupation of Daniel 
" Defoe.'' Dr. Price lived for some 
years in it, as the domestic chaplain 
of a subsequent owner. These facts 
I derive from the very useful, well- 
informed, and well-conducted Notes 
and Queries, iv. 299-300. A 
whimsical proof was given, not long 
ago, of the interest with which the 
name of De Foe still surrounds this 
unpicturesque house in an unpoeti- 
cal locality. Whimsical I call it, 
but it is also very honourable to the 
pilgrims from over distant seas who 
figure in it, and who display such 
enthusiasm for the memory of the 
great writer and popular advocate, 
in whom they have a common pro- 
perty with ourselves. The anec- 
dote was originally told me by my old 
friend. Sir James Emerson Tennent, 
who kindly re-tells it here at my 

160 A FAMILY PICTURE. [Daniel 

was an old gentleman of sixty-four years, afflicted with 
gout and stone, but very cheerful, still very active, with 
mental faculties in sharp abundance, keeping a handsome 
coach, paying away much money in acts of charity, and 
greatly given to the cultivation of a large and pleasant 
garden. This was Daniel De Foe. 

As Mr. Baker's manuscript narrative of these scenes 
of his youth is before us, we will transcribe one or two 
brief passages. " Amongst the first who desired his ac- 

" quaintance at JN'ewington was Mr. D , a gentleman 

" well known by his writings, who had newly built there 
" a very handsome house, as a retirement from London, 
" and amused his time either in the cultivation of a large 
" and pleasant garden, or in the pursuit of his studies, 
" which he found means of making very profitable. He 
" was now at least sixty years of age, afflicted with the 
" gout and stone, but retained all his mental faculties 
" entire. Mr. B readily accepted his invitation, and was 
" so pleased vdth his conversation, that he seldom came 

*' to Newington without paying a visit to Mr. D , and 

" met usually at the tea-table his three lovely daughters, 
" who were admired for their beauty, their education, 
" and their prudent conduct. And if sometimes Mr. 

" D 's disorders made company inconvenient, Mr. B 

" was entertained by them either singly or together, and 

request. *' The incident of wMch ** pelled by their respect for the 

*' you remind me, in connexion with " name of his illustrious predeces- 

" the^nemory of De Foe, was this. " sor in it, to beg that they might 

" A friend of mine lately told me "be permitted to spend a little 

*' that the gentleman residing in De " time in the dwelling-place of so 

** Foe's house at Newington, about '* eminent a man. Assent was 

* ' two years back, was one forenoon * ' readily given ; whereupon they 

' ' surprised by a visit from a party ' * said that already they had ven- 

*' of Americans, who drove to his ** tured to anticipate that, by bring- 

*' door in a hired carriage. They "ing a pic-nic hamper in their 

" drew up in front, knocked, and " carriage — and their satisfaction 

"requested to see the proprietor. " was complete on permission being 

"On making bis appearance, the " granted to carry it into the garden, 

" spokesman said he presumed they *' where the explosion of cork, and 

" were right in supposing that this "other corresponding symptoms, 

" was the house of Daniel De Foe ? " speedily gave evidence of the sin- 

* ' — And being assured of the fact, * * cerity with which they had made 

" he went on to say that he and his " this very matter-of-fact pilgrimage 

" companions, from the new coun- " to the home of the great novelist 

" try, had waited on him as the " and patriot." 
" occupant of that mansion, im- 

De Foe.'\ proposal for his You^^GEST daughter. 151 

'' that commonly in tlie garden when the weather was 
" favourable." AYith what follows, the reader need not 
be troubled. But with prospects of unequalled bliss came 
also trouble to Mr. Baker. Slave as he was become to 
the tender passion, he had a sober reflective turn of mind. 
" He knew nothing of Mr. D — 's circumstances, only 
" imagined from his very genteel way of living that he 
" must be able to give his daughter a decent portion." 
Mr. D — was accordingly spoken to as soon as hope was 
received of the young lady's approval. The young lady 
herself indeed made his consent the first condition of her 
own ; and, even more than the " genteel way of living " 
in this grave and good dissenter's household, we are 
pleased and arrested by the picture presented to us of a 
kindly controul, and affectionate yet prudent discipline, in 
the father and chief disposer of the house. 

The first thought of parting with his youngest daughter 
sorely troubled De Foe. He called her the dearest jewel 
he possessed, and by other playful and loving names. But 
then he spoke of his own age and infirmities, and how 
precarious his life was become, and finally, with touching 
reiteration that Mr. Baker must ^' use her kindly," per- 
mitted him to urge his suit. He should not take her, he 
added, like a charity girl, with nothing. She should have, 
even during her father's life, at least five hundred pounds ; 
and Mr. Baker (who had already managed to save a 
thousand pounds out of his employment) must add the 
same sum, to be settled and set apart to her use in case 
of accident. " I wish I could promise more," said the 
old man, " but what she wants in money, I hope she will 
" make up in goodness ; and if she proves as good a wife 
" as she has been a child, her husband will be a happy 
" man." 

Mr. Baker's suit prospered, but not with such unin- 
terrupted smoothness as to invalidate the poet's rule. 
After some Little time he preferred a request to De Foe 
" to order proper settlements to be drawn up in the 
" manner he had proposed ; when his answer was, that 
"formal articles he thought unnecessary; that he could 
" confide in the honour of Mr. B ; that when they talked 
" before, he did not know the true state of his own affairs ; 
" that on due consideration he found he could not part 


" witli any money in present, but at his death his daughter 
" Sophy's share would be more than he had promised." 
Bemembering the hard struggle of the great writer's life, 
the old claims from mercantile adventure which hung over 
him still unsatisfied, and the difl&culties of protecting the 
property in literature which more lately he had acquired, 
there was nothing in what he is thus reported to have 
said that should have raised a suspicion of his good faith. 
The result too early and sadly showed that he had 
indeed been sanguine in his first estimate, and that 
he had not remembered correctly the state of his aff'airs. 
But, to Mr. Baker, nothing was visible or admissible 
but his own disappointment ; and in remonstrance 
and complaint thereon he was eager and persistent. 
" Sir," interrupted De Foe at last, " if you will take 
" my daughter, you must take her as I can give her." 
" Never was father so indulgent as he has been to me ! " 
cried Sophy De Foe through her tears, when her too 
prudent wooer related his disappointment that evening 
in the garden. 

" This was the beginning," says Mr. Baker, " of that 
" long uneasiness they both suffered," and which carried 
with it the moral, that a young gentleman may err even in 
excess of prudence. " Several proposals," he adds, " were 
*' made at different times by Mr. D — and Mr. B for ac- 
" commodating this matter ; but each new proposal only 
" occasioned new perplexity : for, when everything seemed 
" agreed on, Mr. D — would give no security but his single 
" bond for the due performance of articles, tho' he had an 
" estate in Essex, and a new-built house at Newington, 
*' either of which would have been a satisfactory security ; 
" but he pretended these were already settled for family 
" purposes, which he could not break through. At length, 
'' however, after almost two years, Mr. D — consented to 
" engage his house at Newington as a security ; and, 
" articles being accordingly executed, the marriage was 
" celebrated April 30, 1729." 

If the opening date given by Mr. Baker is correct, the 
courtship of the young philosopher had lasted nearly five 
years. But not the least pointed touches occurred at its 
close, and Mr. Baker's modesty has omitted them. When 
all had been arranged, and the bond only waited to be 

De Foe,~\ letter on parting with his daughter. 153 

signed/ tlie thrifty young gentleman insisted that it 
should bear interest at five per cent, whereas De Foe had 
special family reasons for limiting it to four ; and eight 
more months appear to have passed before this new diffi- 
culty vanished. The authority for so appropriate a sequel 
to Mr. Baker's narrative, which otherwise it strikingly 
confirms, is a letter by De Foe himself, here for the first 
time published ;' fuU of character ; and, of the very few of 
his private letters that have been preserved to us, decidedly 
the most agreeable in its tone and turns of expression. 
It is written in a firm strong hand, and is addressed to 
Mr. Henry Baker. De Foe was now in his sixty-eighth 
year ; it is the last picture of the great author which we 
shall be able to contemplate without sorrow ; and we may 
perhaps account it as no small gain that a long life of so 
much struggle and vicissitude, should have left so far un- 
impaired the manifest spirit of domestic enjoyment and 
quiet thankfulness, which shines through a letter written 
so near its close. 

Sir, — I am sorry there should be any manner of room 
for an objection when we are so near a conclusion of an 
aff'air like this. I should be very uneasie, when I give 
you a gift I so much value (and I hope I do not overrate 
her neither), there should be any reserve among us that 
should leave the least room for unkindness, or so much as 
thinking of unkindness^no, nor so much as of the word. 

But there is a family reason why I am tyed down to 
the words of four per cent, and I can not think Mr. 
Baker should dispute so small a matter with me after I 
tell him so, (viz.) that I am so tyed down. I can, I be- 
lieve, many ways make him up the little sum of five 
pound a-year ; and when I tell you thus under my hand, 
that I shall think myself obliged to do it durante vita, I 
shall add that I shall think myself more obliged to do so, 
than if you had it under hand and seal. 

But, if you are not willing to trust me on my parole, for 

^ A facsimile of De Foe's signature Magazine, Vol. 82, part i, p. 529. 

to this bond (dated 5th April, 1729) ^ pj-Q^ ^\^q original, now in my 

described as " for payment of £500 possession. It had been given by 

" marriage portion of Sophia De Foe Mr. Baker's great great grandson 

** to Mr. Henry Baker of Enfield," to the late Mr. Dawson Turner, 

was published in the Gentleman's [I860.] 


SO small a sum, and tliat according to tlie Great Treatys 
abroad, there must be a secret article in our Negotiations 
— I say if it must be so, I would fain put myself in a 
condition to deny you nothing, which you can ask, beHev- 
ing you will ask nothing of me which I ought to deny. 

When you speak of a child's Fortmie, which I own 
you do very modestly, you must give me leave to say only 
this, you must accept of this in bar of any claim from the 
City Customes ; and I doubt you will have but too much 
reason, seeing I can hardly hope to do equally for all the 
rest, as I shall for my dear Sophie. But after that, you 
shall onely allow me to say, and that you shall depend 
upon, whatever it shall please God to bless me with, none 
shall have a deeper share in it. And you need do no 
more than remember, that she is, ever was, and ever will 
be, my Dearest and Best Beloved. And let me add again, 
I hope you will take it for a mark of my singular and 
affectionate concern for you, that I thus give her you, and 
that I say too. If I could give her much more, it should 
be to you, with the same affection. 

Yours without flattery, 

August intky 1728. "^^ ^ * 

We have said that here was the last clear glimpse of 
De Foe that we should get without grief and pain. But it 
is not so. There is one other before the final shadow 
falls. Homely but hearty are the words in which a certain 
honest old Thomas Webb, after telling us what he had 
suffered by the death of his wife, goes on to tell us who it 
was that comforted and consoled him. " And poor dis- 
" tressed I, left alone, and no one to go and speak to, 
" save only Mr. Deffoe, who hath acted a noble and 
" generous part towards me and my poor children. The 
" Lord reward him and his with the blessings of upper 
*' and nether spring, with the blessings of his basket and 
" store,'' &c. 

Alas ! the basket and store of De Foe were not much 
oftener to be replenished on this side the grave. Eight 
months after his letter about his daughter's marriage, the 
marriage took place, and the next glimpse we get of him 
reveals a sad change. It is a letter to his printer, Mr. J. 
Watts, in Wild-court, and even in its signature the bold 

De Foe.^ correcting his last proofs. 155 

upright hand is broken down. He is grieved to have de- 
tained the proofs, but he has been exceeding ill. He has 
revised his manuscript again, and contracted it very much, 
and he hopes to bring it within the bulk the printer 
desires. He now sends him back the first sheet, with as 
much copy as wdll make near three sheets more ; and he 
shall have all the remainder, so as not to let him stand 
still at all. He greatly regrets the number of alterations 
made in the pages he returns, and fears the corrections 
will cost as much as perhaps setting the whole over again 
would be ; but he will endeavour to send the rest of the 
copy so well corrected as to give very little trouble. — 
Whether or not he succeeded in that endeavour, cannot 
now be told ; for there is no evidence that any more than 
that single sheet was ever printed.' It must be enough 
for us that such was his hope and his intention, and that 
even such, to the very last, according to this most cha- 
racteristic letter, were the labours, the anxieties, and the 
ill-rewarded toil, which followed this great English author 
up to the very verge of the grave. 

There is but one more letter of his preserved. Its date 
is a year later ; and from this letter, also addressed to his 
son-in-law Baker,' and which is one of the most affecting 

^ The original manuscript never- ' ' ' from posterity but a name. 

theless exists, and was lately sold ' ' ' Look at Daniel De Foe ; recol- 

to a private purchaser at the sale of " ' lect him pilloried, bankrupt, 

Mr. Dawson Turner of Great Yar- ** ' wearing away his life to pay 

mouth, for sixty-nine pounds. The " 'his creditors in full, and dying 

British Museum had not the courage "'in the struggle! — and his 

to go beyond thirty-five. Its title is " ' works live, imitated, corrupted, 

The Complete Gentleman. [I860.] " ' yet casting off their stains, 

* The eldest son of this marriage, ' ' ' not by protection of law, but 

David Erskine Baker, so named " ' by their own pure essence, 

after his godfather, Lord Buchan, " ' Had every schoolboy whose 

wrote the Biographia Dramatica, " ' young imagination has been 

or Companion to the Playhouse. " * prompted by his great work, 

What follows I transcribe from a " * and whose heart has learned to 

note in the second edition of my " ' throb in the strange yet familiar 

Life of Goldsmith. "Pleading the " 'solitude he created, given even 

' case of authors, and their title ' ' ' the half-penny of the statute of 

' to a longer protection of their " * Anne, there would have been 

* copyright, Mr. Serjeant Talfoiird " ' no want of a provision for his 
' employed this affecting illustra- " * children, no need of a subscrip- 
' tion. ' A man of genius and in- " ' tion fora statue to his memory ! ' 
' ' tegrity, who has received all "As I transcribe these eloquent 

* ' insult and injury from his con- " words (January, 1854), I become 

* * temporaries, obtains nothing " acquainted with the most strik- 




that the English, language contains, we learn that far be- 
yond poverty, or printers, or booksellers, or any of the 
manifold ills of authorship, the conduct of De Foe's second 
son was embittering the closing hours of his long and 
checkered life. The precise story is difficult to unravel ; 

' ' ing practical comment which it 
*' would be possible for them to 
" receive, in the fact that there is 
" now living in Kennington, in 
" deep though tmcom plaining pov- 
** erty, James De Foe, aged 77, 
* ' the great grandson of the author 
*' of Robinson Crusoe." — Life and 
Times of Goldsmith, vol. ii. p. 482. 

The sequel to this note remains 
(March, 1858) to be given. Upon 
reading it, Mr. Landor addressed 
to the Times a noble eulogy on De 
Foe, calling upon every schoolboy, 
and every man in England who had 
been one, to give his penny at once 
to save the descendant he had left 
— "a Crusoe without a Friday, in 
' ' an island to him a desert." I sub- 
join the close of this striking appeal. 

" Let our novelists, now the 
" glory of our literature, remember 
" their elder brother Daniel, and 
" calculate (if, indeed, the debt is 
" calculable) what they owe him. 

" Let our historians ask them- 
* ' selves if no tribute is due, in long 
*' arrear, to the representative of 
*' him who wrote the History of the 
** Plague in London. What ought 
"to live will live, what ought to 
*' perish will perish. Marble is 
" but a wretched prop at best. 
" Defoe wants no statue, and is 
*' far beyond all other want. 
*'Alas! there is one behind who 
" is not so. Let all contribute 
*' one penny for one year; poor 
" James has lived seventy-seven, 
*' and his dim eyes can not look 
' * far into another. 

" Persuade, Sir, for you can 
"more powerfully than any, the 
" rich, the industrious, the studi- 
" ous, to purchase a large store of 
" perdurable happiness for them- 
" selves by the smallest sum of a 
" day's expendituie. The author 

" of that book which has imparted 
" to most of them the greatest de- 
* * light of any, was also the earliest 
* ' teacher of political economy, the 
" first propouuder of free trade. 
" He planted that tree, which, 
" stationary and stunted for nearly 
"two centuries, is now spreading 
"its shadow by degrees over all 
"the earth. He was the most far- 
" sighted of our statesmen, and the 
" most worthily trusted by the 
" wisest of our kings. He stood 
" up for the liberty of the press ; 
" let the press be grateful. 

" It was in the power of Johnson 
" to relieve the granddaughter of 
' * Milton : Sir, it is in yours to 
" prop up the last scion of Defoe. 
" If Milton wrote the grandest 
" poem, and the most energetic 
" and eloquent prose, of any 
"writer in any country; if he 
" stood erect before Tyranny, and 
" covered with his buckler, not 
" England only, but nascent na- 
" tions ; if our great prophet raised 
" in vision the ladder that rose 
" from earth to heaven, with angels 
* ' upon every step of it ; lower, 
" indeed, but not less useful, were 
' ' the energies of Defoe. He stimu- 
" lated to enterprise those colonies 
" of England which extend over 
* ' every sea, and which carry with 
" them, from him, the spirit and 
* ' the language that will predomi- 
" nate throughout the world. 
" Achilles and Homer will be for- 
" gotten before Crusoe and Defoe." 

To this most striking letter suc- 
ceeded one by Mr. Charles Knight, 
from whom the information as to 
James De Foe originally reached 
me, and who had already, with 
his characteristic zeal in every good 
work, opened in conjunction with 
Mr. Dickens a subscription. Mr. 

De Foe.~\ last melancholy letter. 157 

— but what lie had hinted to Mr. Baker, and that too 
cautious and wary gentleman had been so slow to believe, 
of the uncertain condition of his fortune and estate, had 
come unexpectedly and fatally true. One of his old credi- 
tors, " a wicked, perjur'd, and contemptible enemy," had 
struck him suddenly with so heavy a hand, that, to avoid 
utter shipwreck of everything, he had been fain to make 
over what he possessed to his son in trust for the joint 
benefit of his two unmarried daughters and their mother ; 
and now this trust the son had betrayed, had converted all 
to his own use, and had reduced his mother and sisters to 
beggary. " Nothing but this has conquered or could con- 
" quer me. Et tu I Brute. I depended upon him, I trusted 
** him, I gave up my two dear unprovided children into his 
" hands ; but he has no compassion, and sufiers them and 
" their poor dying mother to beg their bread at his door, 
'* and to crave, as if it were an alms, what he is bound under 
" hand and seal, besides the most sacred promises, to sup- 
" ply them with : himself, at the same time, living in a 
*' profusion of plenty. It is too much for me. Excuse 
" my infirmity ; I can say no more, my heart is too full. 
" I only ask one thing of you as a dying request. Stand 
" by them when I am gone, and let them not be wronged, 
" while he is able to do them right. Stand by them as a 
" brother ; and if you have any thing within you owing 
" to my memory, who have bestow'd on you the best gift 
" I had to give, let them not be injured and trampled on 
" by false 'pretences, and unnatural reflections. I hope 
" they will want no help but that of comfort and council ; 
" but that, they will indeed want, being too easy to be 
" managed by words and promises." 

Even thus De Foe writes, from a place near Greenwich, 
where he seems to have been some time wandering about, 

Landor's letter brought immediate have heen collected, but more was 
and large additions to it, and enough not wanted. James De Foe died on 
was obtained for the purpose de- the 19th of May, 1857. After pay- 
sired. From the close of January, ment of all expenses incident to his 
1854, to the middle of May, 1857, illness and death, a very small ba- 
nearly 200Z. was paid, in small lance was handed to his daughters ; 
sums, to the worthy old man ; and an account of the monies col- 
whose needs were in this way better lected and distributed was then cir- 
satisfied, than if the money in any culated among the subscribers, in 
larger amount had been placed at so far as it was prissible to reach 
his disposal. Aluch more might them, by Mr. Knight and myself. 

158 DEATH. [Daniel De Foe. 

alone, in want, and with, a broken heart. The letter, as we 
have said, is to his son-in-law, Baker ; possessor of his 
" best gift," his dear daughter, his dearest Sophia, whom if 
he could but meet again, " without giving her the grief of 
" seeing her father in tenebris, and under the load of insup- 
" portable sorrows," even those griefs might be more 
supportable ! It closes thus :^ " I would say, I hope with 
" comfort, that it is yet well I am so near my journey's end, 
*' and am hastening to the place where the weary are at 
" rest, and where the wicked cease to trouble. Be it that 
" the passage is rough, and the day stormy, by what way 
" soever He please to bring me to the end of it, I desire to 
" finish life with this temper and soul in all cases — Te 
" Deiim laudamus. May all you do be prosperous, and all 
" you meet with pleasant, and may you both escape the 
" tortures and troubles of uneasy life ! It adds to my 
" grief that I must never see the pledge of your mutual 
" love, my little grandson. Give him my blessing, and 
" may he be, to you both, your joy in youth, and your 
" comfort in age, and never add a sigh to your sorrow. 
" Kiss my dear Sophy once more for me ; and, if I must 
" see her no more, tell her this is from a father that loved 
" her above all his comforts, to his last breath." 

The money was recovered, and the family again pros- 
perous ; but Daniel De Foe was gone. In his seventy- 
first year, on the 24th of April 1731, he had somehow 
found his way back to London — ^to die in that parish of 
St. Giles's, Cripplegate,'^ wherein he was borri ; and, as 
long as the famous old city should live, to live in the 
memory and admiration of her citizens. , 

^ It is only just to Mr, Baker to place of De Foe's death was not 

add that he seems, shortly before known to Mr. Walter Wilson. It 

its date, to have written a "very took- place in Kopemakers'-alley, 

kind and affectionate letter " to his Moorfields. Of this fact there can 

father-in-law, who takes occasion be no reasonable doubt, it being 

in the midst of his trouble to speak, so stated in the Daily Courant of 

with characteristic felicity of phrase, the day following his death. Rope- 

of his "kind manner and hinder makers' -alley no longer exists, but 

*' thought from which it flows.'" it stood about opposite to where the 

2 Cromwell was married there, London Institution now stands. 
and Milton buried. The precise 



On the Life and Writings of Addison. By Thomas BABiKaiON Maoaulat. 
London, 1852. 

Steele and Addison are among the first ghosts met by- 
Fielding in his delightful Journey from this World to the 
next. A remark from the spirit of Yirgil having a little 
disconcerted the bashful Joseph, he has turned for re- 
assurance to the spirit most familiar and best known to 
him on earth, when at once Steele heartily embraces him, 
and tells him he had been the greatest man up in the 
other world, and that he readily resigned all the merit of 
his own works to him. In return Addison gives him a 
gracious smile, and, clapping him on the back with much 
solemnity, cries out, " Well said, Dick." Fielding was 
here laughing at the claim set up by Addison's associ- 
ates, when they would have struck down his old fellow- 
labourer's fame, to add to the glories of his own. What 
Steele said so well for his friend, and ill for himself, in 
the other world, had already been more than broadly 
hinted in this, in Mr. Tickell's celebrated preface. 

Nevertheless, Steele's fame survived that back-handed 
blow. What the Kving Addison himself foretold came 
true ; and, out of party contentions so fierce that no 
character escaped them unsullied, side by side, when 
those contentions ceased, his friend's and his emerged.' 

1 From the (Quarterly Review, March 1855. With additions. 

' "Their personal friendship and '* ties they are engaged in be at an 
" enmities must cease, and the par- "end, before their faults or their 


Thougli circumstances favoured somewliat tlie one against 
the other, there had come to be a corner for both in 
almost all men's liking ; and those " little diurnal essays 
" which are extant still/' kept also extant, in an equal 
and famous companionship, the two foremost Essayists of 
England. A more powerful hand than Mr. TickelFs now 
strikes them rudely apart. A magnificent eulogy of 
Addison is here built upon a most contemptuous depreci- 
ation of Steele ; and if we are content to accept without 
appeal the judgment of Mr. Macaulay's Essay, there is 
one pleasant face the less in our Walhalla of British 

For ourselves we must frankly say Not Content, and 
our reasons shall be stated in this article. Not, we dare 
say, without partiality ; certainly not without frank and 
full allowance for the portion of evil which is inseparable 
from all that is good, and for the something of littleness 
mixed up with all that is great,;;^n one of his most 
charming essays Steele has himself reminded us, that the 
word inijKrfection should never carry to the considerate^ 
man's heart a thought unkinder than the word humanity y 
and we shall also think it well to remember, what wiih 
not less wisdom on another occasion he remarked, as to 
the prodigious difference between the figure the same 
person bears in our imagination when we are pleased 
with him, from that wherein we behold him when we are 
angry.^ Steele we think eminently a man to write or 
speak of in the mood of pleasure. 

But first let Mr. Macaulay speak of him. Introducing 
him as a person only entitled to distinction as one of the 
chief members of the small literary coterie to which 
Addison was the oracle, and deriving from that fact his 

"virtues can have justice done "different parties, will then have 

"them. . . I cannot forbear en- "the same body of admirers, and 

" tertainiug myself very often with " appear illustrious in the opinions 

* ' the idea of an imaginary histo- ' * of the whole British nation. . . . 

" rian describing the reign of Anne I, " *It was under this reign,' he will 

" and introducing it with a preface "say, 'that the Spectator pub- 

" to his readers that he is now en- " 'lished those little diurnal Es- 

" tering upon the most shining pai't "'says, which are still extant,' 

" of the English story. The several " &c. &c." — Spectator^ lS.o.\^\. 
" antagonists who now endeavour ^ Tatlei; No. 246. 

" to depreciate one another, and " Theatre, No. 26. 

" are celebrated or traduced by 


claim to present recognition, lie describes him in general 
terms as one of those people whom it is impossible either 
to hate or to respect. He admits his temper to have been 
sweet, his affections warm, and his spirits lively ; but says 
that his passions were so strong, and his principles so 
weak, that his life was spent in sinning and repenting, in 
inculcating what was right and doing what w^as wron^> 
Hence, we are told, though he was a man of piety and 
honour in speculation, he was in practice much of the 
rake and a little of the swindler ; but, then again, he was 
so good-natured, that it^was not easy to be seriously 
angry with him ; and^ven rigid moralists felt more 
inclined to pity than to blame him, when he diced himself 
into a spunging-house, or drank himself into a fever. 
Among the rigid moralists here referred to, we must 
presume was Mr. Joseph Addison, whose strict abstinence 
from drink is so well known ; but the Essayist is care- 
ful to add, that the kindness with which that rigid 
moralist regarded his friend was "not immingled with 
" sconij^ 

So much the worse for Addison, if that be true ; for 
very certainly he succeeded in concealing it from his 
friend, and, we imagine indeed, from every one but 
Mr. Macaulay. True, no doubt, it is, that so consummate 
a master of humour could hardly have had it always under 
control ; and that the most intimate of his associates 
would not be spared the pleasant laugh which was raised 
in turn against all. But Pope, from whom we derive the 
fact that he would now and then " play a little '^ on the 
extraordinary regard which Steele evinced for him, also 
informs us how weU it was always taken ; and, that any- 
thing of contempt ' ever passed from one to the other, is 
most assui-edly not to be inferred from any published 
record.' The first characteristic thing which Pope noted in 
Addison, that he was always for moderation in parties, 
and used to blame his dear friend Steele for being too 
much of a party-man, marks the source of whatever dis- 
agreement they had ; and he who, on that very ground 
of party, lavished upon Steele the most unsparing and 
unscrupulous abuse, and whose old intimacy with both 
friends had opened to him the secrets of their most 
familiar hours, never thought of using against him such 


a formidable weapon as lie would have found in Addi- 
son/s contempt// 

■"^' Swift calls Steele a thoughtless fellow, satirises his 
submission to his wife, and says he was never good 
company till he had got a bottle of wine in his head ; ^ 
he twits him with his debts, and flings a bailiff at him in 
every other paragraph, through some scores of page^jf^ he 
avers that he cannot write grammar ; ^ nay, he descends 
so low (but this through the fouler mouth of one of the 
professional libellers of the day) as even coarsely to laugh 
at his short face, little flat nose, broad back, and thick 
legs ; " and yet he empties inefiectively all those vials of 
his o\vn scorn, without one allusion to that other which 
he knew would have gone, with a deadly venom, straight 
to the heart of his victim. '''Before their final rupture, he 
had to answer Steele's reproach that he had spoken of him 
as " bridled by Addison," and he does this with a denial 
that frankly admits Steele's right to be jealous of the 
imputatioru^ Throughout his intimate speech to Stella, 
whether fiis humour be sarcastic or polite, the friend- 
ship of Steele and Addison is for ever suggesting some 
annoyance to himself, some mortification, some regret ; 
but never once the doubt that it was not intimate and 
sincere, or that into it entered anything inconsistent with 
a perfect equality. "When he wishes to serve the one, 
and is annoyed that the other receives the overture coldly 
(22 October, 1710) ; when he suspects the one of prevent- 
ing the other's visits to Harley (15th November, 1710) ; 
when he treats a service to the one as not less a service 
to the other (14th January, 1710-11) ; when he reproaches 
the one as ungrateful for what he had done for the 
other (15th January, 1710-11); when he calls him- 
self a fool for spending his credit in favour of both 
(16th March, 1710-11) ; and when he has promised 
my Lord Treasurer never again to speak for either 
(29th June, 1711) ; he shows you, still, that he is 
speaking of an intercourse upheld by the strongest 
attachments, and into which, whatever the respective 

^ Journal to Stella, Oct. 3, 1710. "* Letter from, Dr. Tripe to Nestor 

2 Importance of the Guardian Ironside. 

considered. s Letter of Swift to Steele, May 

3 Fublic Spirit of the Whigs. 27, 1713. 



merits of the men, there could have entered no element 
oiJ>' scorn.'' ^ 

■■^li is quite true, however, that some coldness and 
estrangement did grow between Steele and Addison as 
time went oti, though to the last it was never so complete 
as Mr. Macaulay would wish to convey To this, and its 
causes, we shall have to advert hereafter ; but in con- 
nection with it we have so express and affecting a state- 
ment from Steele himself, only six months after his 
friend's death, and in reply to a coarse assailant whom it 
silenced, that as to the general fact it leaves no doubt 
whatever, /^here never, he says, was a more strict 
friendship than between himself and Addison, nor had 
they ever any difference but what proceeded from their 
different way of pursuing the same thing ; the one waited 
and stemmed the torrent, while the other too often 
plunged into it ; but, though they thus had lived for some 
.^years last past, shunning each other, they still preserved 
the most passionate concern for their mutual welfare; 
and when they met, " they were as unreserved as boys, 
" and talked of the greatest affairs, upon which they saw 
" where they differed, without pressing (what they knew 
" impossible) to convert each other." ^ As to the sub- 
stance or worth of what thus divided them, Steele only 
adds the significant expression of his hope that, if his 
family is the worse, his country may be the better, for 
the mortification he has undergone^ 

There is something in that. When a man is indiscreet, 
it is not beside the matter to inquire what passion it is 
that urges him to indiscretion. It may be the actual 
good of others, or it may be a fancied good for himself. 
Mr. AUworthy did so many kindnesses for so many people, 
that he made enemies of the whole parish ; and it wiU 
perhaps generally be found that the man who cares least 
for his neighbours, is very far from the least likely to pass 
for good-natured among them. It will not do to judge 
off-hand, even between the impetuosity which plunges 
into the torrent, and the placidity which waits upon the 
brink. Each temperament has its advantages, within a 
narrow or a more extended range ; and, where the passion 

1 The Theatre, No. xii, Feb. 9, 1719-20 

M 2 


for public affairs has been so incorrigible that it refused 
to take regard of its own or others' convenience in its 
manifestations, we must not too hastily resolve to take 
part either against the hostility it provokes, or with the 
sympathy it repels. So much, before passing in review 
Steele's actual character and story, it will be well to keep 
in mind ; though there can be no manner of doubt that 
his course, whether in other respects ill or well taken, 
put him at grave disadvantage with the world. 

Even in regard to this, however, there is no need to 
take any special tone of pity; and too much stress has 
perhaps been laid on Addison's own regrets in the matter. 
It was when the good Mr. Hughes thought he saw an 
opportunity, on the sudden cessation of Mr. Steele's 
Guardian, to get Mr. Addison's services for a little scheme 
of his own ; and, with many flourishes about the regret 
with which all the more moderate Whigs saw their com- 
mon friend's thoughts turned entirely on politics and dis- 
engaged from pursuits more entertaining and profitable, 
had propounded his plan for a Register; that Mr. Addison, 
foreseeing little glory in working with Mr. Hughes, and 
sending a civil No, I thank you, I must now rest and lay 
in a little fuel, proceeded, merely upon the hint his corre- 
spondent had thrown out, to speak of Steele in language 
often quoted, and used against him by Mr. Macaulay. 
" In the meantime I should be glad if you would set 
" such a project on foot, for I know nobody else capable 
" of succeeding in it, and turning it to the good of man- 
*' kind, since my friend has laid it down. I am in a 
" thousand troubles for poor Dick, and wish that his zeal 
" for the public may not be ruinous to himself; but he 
" has sent me word that he is determined to go on, and 
** that any advice I can give him in this particular will 
" have no weight with him." Formerly, as now, these 
expressions have been pointed to a sense not exactly 
intended by them. Taken with what induced them, and 
read as they were written, they are certainly unmingled 
with scorn. 

There is pity in them, to be sure ; and there is what 
Mr. Macaulay calls the " trying with little success to keep 
"him out of scrapes;" both which must pass for what 
they are worth. There is also the " poor Dick," which 


Steele.~\ way to "cry" a man down. 1G5 

has been so lavishly repeated since ; but, we must take the 
liberty to add, with a feeling and for a purpose far less 
worthy. -^'It is our belief that no man so much as Steele 
has suffered from compassion. It was out of his own bitter 
experience that he shrewdly called it, himself, the best 
disguise of malice, and said that the most apposite course 
to cry a man down was to lament hinj^ Mr. Macaulay is 
incapable of malice, even if the motive for it were in such 
a case conceivable ; but whatever praise he gives to Steele 
is always in the way of condescension, and he cannot bring 
himself to state a virtue in him which he does not at the 
same time extenuate with its equal vice or drawback. 
We much fear there are few characters that would 
stand this kind of analysis, — very few in which the 
levelling circumstance might not be detected, that more 
or less brings down the high, the wise, the strong, 
and the fortunate, to the lower level with their fellow- 

An ill mending of the matter it would be, indeed, to 
extenuate vice itself as a set-off to the extenuation of 
virtue ; but both have need of a more considerate reflec- 
tion than they are generally apt to receive, in connection 
with such a life as we shaU shortly retrace. For not a 
few years of that life, we dare say. Captain Steele might 
have pleaded, with Captain Plume, that for all his exube- 
rance of spirits he was yet very far from the rake the 
world imagined. " I have got an air of freedom," says 
Farquhar's pleasant hero, " which people mistake in 

^ The sketch in which this occurs * * ceremony or taking leave, runs 

(No. 4) is of a class of men who *' to the side on which they appear, 

(making allowance for special dif- " Hence it is, that he passes all 

ferences in themselves) would not " his days under reproach from 

be ill represented by De Foe and *' some persons or other ; and he is, 

"^teele. It is very difficult, he says, *' at different times, called a rene- 

with an obvious tone of self-reference, ' ' gade, a confessor, and a martyr, 

to put them down. It is thought " by every party. This happens 

enough to shrug your shoulders, " from his sticking to principles, 

take snuff, and say something in ' ' and having no respect to persons ; 

pity of them. But yet the man you "and it is his inward constancy 

so lament, is, after all, too hardy a * ' that makes him vary in outward 

creature to be so discountenanced and "appearance. It is therefore un- 

undone. "He is never mortified " lucky for those who speak of this 

' ' but when truth, honour, and rea- * ' kind of character with ridicule, 

" son are against him ; which, as " that all the great who ever lived 

" soon as he perceives, he, without " were such." 


" me, just as in others they mistake formality for religion." 
It is a kind of mistake committed in many forms ; and 
Pope was hinting at it when he remarked, that whereas, 
according to La Rochefoucauld, a great many virtues are 
disguised ^dces, he would engage, by the same mode of 
reasoning, to prove a great many vices to be disguised 
virtues. Take the love of ourselves for example, and say 
that in it lies the motive of most of our actions, good or 
bad ; yet it by no means would follow that the number 
are not much greater wherein the self-love of some men 
incline them to please others, than where the self-love of 
others is employed wholly in pleasing themselves. Steele 
had said the same thing several years before in his 
Christian Hero, when he remarked that there can really 
be no greater love of self than to love others, nor any 
more secure way to obtain good offices than to do 

Not that any such modes of reasoning may sufficiently 
excuse a life spent, if what Mr. Macaulay tells us be true, 
in sinning and repenting, in inculcating what was right 
and doing what was wrong. A profitless life to himself, 
beyond a doubt, if such indeed was Steele's ; but sugges- 
tive also of the remark, that, since the wrong that was 
done has passed away, and the right that was inculcated 
remains, others decidedly may have profited though he 
did not. For ourselves, holding with the philosophy 
which teaches us that depravity of disposition is less 
pardonable than any kind of frailty of passion, we know 
of no ofPence against virtue so grave as to speak of it in 
disparagement ; and no worse practice in regard to vice 
than the systematic praise and recommendation of it. 
"With the latter, at least, no one has ever been so reckless, 
in our daj* or even in his own, as to charge Richard 
Steele. //jIq had a real love and reverence for virtue. 
Pope told Spence. He had the best nature in the world, 
and was a man of almost boundless benevolence, said 
Young. Lady Mary Montagu lived much with all the 
wits, and knew no one with the kind nature of Steele. It 
is his admitted weakness to have yielded to the temptation 
which yet he never lost the strength to condemn ; but we 
should remember who has said that, if at all times to do 
were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had 

Steele."] each man to be judged by himself. 167 

been churclies and poor men's cottages princes' palaces^^ 
Let us add that even Addison himself could not always do 
both ; and that, if the strict rule were applied universally, 
never to accept unreservedly what is good in a man, and 
praise it accordingly, without minute measimng-off of what 
may also be condemned for evil, with detraction at least 
equal to the praise, there would be altogether an end at 
last to all just judgments, and a w^oeful general confusion 
of right and wrong. Jh^ Addison had not Steele's de- 
fects ; that Steele's defects, graver though they may have 
been, were yet not those of Addison ; should surely be far 
from matter of complaining with us, since in no small 
degree it has served to contribute to the more complete 
instruction and entertainment of the w^orld. There is a 
wise little paper in which Steele has pursued so closely an 
argument resembling this, that we may adapt it to our 
present use. We may stigmatise it as not less a want of 
sense than of good nature, to say that Addison has less 
exuberant spirits than Steele, but Steele not such steady 
self-control as Addison ; for, that such men have not each 
other's capacities is no more a diminution to either, than 
if you shouM say Addison is not Steele, or Steele not 
Addison, -^he, heathen world, as Mr. Bickerstaff reasons 
the matter, had so little notion that perfection was to be 
expected from men, that among them any one quality or 
endowment in a heroic degree made a god. Hercules had 
strength, but it was never objected to him that he wanted 
wit. Apollo presided over wit, and it was never asked 
whether he had strength. Those wise heathens were glad 
to immortalise any one serviceable gift, and to overlook all 
imperfections in the person who had it. But with us it 
is far otherwise. We are only too eager to reject many 
manifest virtues, if we find them accompanied with a single 
apparent weakness.,^ ^'' 

Nor does the shrewd Mr. Bickerstaff end the argument 
here. He discovers in it the secret why principally it is 
that the worst of mankind, the hbellers, receive so much 
encouragement. " The low race of men take a great 
" pleasure in finding an eminent character levelled to 
" their condition by a report of its defects, and they keep 
" themselves in countenance, though they are excelled in a 

1 The Merchant of Venice. 


" thousand virtues, if they believe they have in common 
" with a great person any one fault." It would not be 
easy to express more perfectly, than in these few words, 
the danger of those extremes of depreciation to which 
Steele more than any man has been subjected. It is our 
firm behef that, whatever his improvidence may have 
been, he was incapable of a dishonourable action. It 
will not be difficult to show, in the brief sketch we shall 
presently give of his career, how little avoidable in his 
circumstances were not a few of his embarrassments and 
troubles. We wish it were possible to doubt that the 
life to which only he was warranted in applying the modest 
expression that it was " at best but pardonable," was 
not better than ninety-nine hundredths of theirs whp 
would be apt to pass the harshest judgments upon it. ,^ It 
was at least the life of a disinterested poKtician and 
patriot, of a tender husband, of an attached father, of a 
scholar, a wit, a man of genius, a gentleman. But the 
wit and the genius brought with them their usual penal- 
ties ; and the world, not content that their exercise should 
have enlarged the circle of its enjoyments, and added 
enormously to human happiness in various ways, must 
satisfy its vulgar eagerness to find feet of clay for its 
image of gold, and give censorious fools the comfort of 
speaking as ill as may be of their benefactor^^ 

And so thp inquisition, far worse than "forquemada's, 
is opened. 'A^ircumstances of life the most minute, nor 
any longer intelligible without the context that has 
perished, are dragged into monstrous prominence. Re- 
lations the most intimate are rudely exposed. Letters 
are printed without concealment, though written in the 
confidence of a privacy so sacred that to break it in the 
case of ordinary men would be to overturn society alto- 
gether. And if the result should finally show that the 
man who has taught us all so well what our own conduct 
ought to be, had unhappily failed in such wisdom for the 
guidance of his own, the general complacence and satis- 
faction are complete. Silly world ! as even Swift can find 
it in his heart to say ; not to understand how much better 
occupied it would be in finding out that men of wit may , 
be the most, rather than the least, moral of mankin^^ 
Unlucky man of wit ! who, in the teeth of his own earnest 



warning, that only lie who lives below his income lays 
up efficient armour against those who will cover all his 
frailties when he is so fortified, and exaggerate them when 
he is naked and defoDceless,^ goes incontinently and lives 
above his own income, and gets himself rated as " a 
" swindler." 

Nor does Mr. Macaulay's disparagement of Steele take 
only the form of such harsh and quite unwarrantable 
expressions. It extends from his moral to his intellectual 
character; and we are not permitted to believe that a 
man could write excellent Tatlers, who was not able to 
pay his tavern-bills with unvarying punctuality. 

In forming his most celebrated literary project, we are 
told, Steele was far indeed from seeing its consequences. 
It had originated in his access to early and authentic 
foreign news, opened by that appointment of Gazetteer, 
which, says Mr. Macaulay, he had received " from Sun- 
" derland, at the request, it is said, of Addison." This is 
another of the many attempts which we grieve to see in 
his Essay, to exhibit Steele as wholly dependent on Addi- 
son for his position with public men ; but it is certainly 
incorrect. Swift expressly tells us, on the information of 
Under-Secretary Erasmus Lewis, that it was Harley from 
whom he received his appointment, and at the request of 
Maynwaring. Indeed, Steele has himself left us in no 
doubt as to this ; for, when he was reproached for attack- 
ing the man to whom his thanks for it were due, he ex- 
cused himself by saying that Harley, the person referred 
to, had refused at the time to accept such thanks, and had 
transferred them wholly to Maynwaring : that very 
leader among the Whigs who is now known himself to 
have written the attack comj)lained of.^ 

1 The Tatler, No. 180. " pounds. This was devilish un- 

2 See the Tatler, No. 193. The " grateful." *'When," he says, in 
fictitious letter of prompter Downes tlie Importance of the Guardian 
was certainly by Maynwaring, I considered (Works, ed. Scott, iv. 
quote Swift: "Steele has lost his 192-3), **Mr. Maynwaring recom- 
" place as Gazetteer," he writes to *' mended him to the employment of 
Stella {Journal, Oct. 22, 1710), " Gazetteer, Mr. Harley, out of an 
' ' three hundred pounds a-year, for ' ' inclination to encourage men of 
'* writing a Tatler some months ago " parts, raised that office from fifty 
*' against Mr, Harley, who gave it " pounds to three hundred pounds 
** him at first, and raised the salary " a-year." 

*' from sixty to three hundred 


Mr. Macaulay proceeds to give us his own description 
of the aim and design of the Tatler. Suggested by Steele's 
experience as Gazetteer, it was to be on a plan quite new, 
and to appear on the days when the post left London 
for the country, which were, in that generation, the Tues- 
days, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Mr. Macaulay thinks 
it immaterial to mention that De Foe's Review, with not a 
few points of resemblance, had already for five years 
travelled by the country posts on those days ; but indeed 
the resemblance could hardly be expected to suggest 
itself, with such a low opinion of Steele's jpiirpose in 
tbe Tatler as he seems to have formed. '/''It was to 
contain, he says, the foreign news, accounts of thea- 
trical representations, and the literary gossip of Will's 
and of the Grecian. It was also to contain remarks 
on the fashionable topics of the day, compliments 
to beauties, pasquinades on noted sharpers, and criti- 
cisms on popular preachers. " The aim of Steele does 
" not appear to have been at first higher than this." 
Mr. Macaulay's manifest object is to convey the im- 
pression that the Tatler hdidi no real worth until Addison 
joined it../ 

Now the facts are, that, with the exception of very rare 
occasional hints embodied in papers indubitably by Steele, 
and of the greater part of one essay which appeared in 
May, and of another published in July, Addison's contri- 
bittions to the Tatler did not begin until his return from 
Ireland in the middle of October, 1709, when eighty num- 
bers had been issued. If, therefore, what Mr. Macaulay 
would convey be correct, Steele's narrow and limited 
design must have lasted at least so long ; and that which 
gives the moral not less than the intellectual charm to 
these famous Essays, which turned their humour into a 
censorship of manners at once gentle and effective, and 
made their wit subservient to wisdom and piety, could 
not have become apparent until after the middle of the 
second volume. Up to that time, according to Mr. 
Macaulay, Steele must have been merely compiling news, 
reviewing theatres, retailing literary gossip, remarking on 
fashionable topics, complimenting beauties, pasquinading 
sharpers, or criticising preachers ; and could not yet have 
entered the higher field which the genius of Addison was 

Steele.'\ opening numbers of the tatleu. 171 

to open to him. Nevertheless this is certain, that, in 
dedicating the first vohame of the work to Maynwaring, 
he describes in language that admits of no miscon- 
struction, not only his own intention in setting it on foot, 
hut what he calls the " sudden acceptance, '^ the extra- 
ordinary success, which immediately followed ; and which 
attracted to its subscription almost every name "now 
" eminent among^us for power, wit, beauty, valour, or 
" wisdom." //iSswfeR being, he says, to observe upon 
the manner^,' both in the pleasurable and the busy part 
of mankind, with a view to an exposure of the false arts 
of life, he resolved to do this by way of a letter of intel- 
ligence constructed on so novel a plan, that it should 
appeal to the curiosity of all persons, of all conditions 
and of each sex ; and at once he proceeds to explain the 
character of his design as precisely that attempt *' to pull 
" ofi" the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation, and 
" to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our 
" discourse, and our behaviour," which was remarked by 
Johnson, three-quarters of a century afterwards, as its 
most happy distinguishing feature. It was this that the 
old critic and philosopher singled out as the very drift of 
all its labour in teaching us the minuter decencies and 
inferior duties, in regulating the practice of our daily 
conversation, in correcting depravities rather ridiculous 
than criminal, and in removing, if not the lasting 
calamities of life, those grievances which are its hourly 
vexation. / / 

But the papers themselves are before us, if we want 
evidence more conclusive. Here is the first number with 
its motto superscribed, claiming for its comprehensive 
theme the qtiicquid a gtmt homines ; and here, among the 
very first words that give us hearty greeting — " and for as 
" much as this globe is not trodden upon by mere drudges 
" of business only, but that men of spirit and genius are 
" justly to be esteemed as considerable agents in it " — the 
lively note seems struck for every pleasant strain that 
followed. Where are the commonplaces described by Mr. 
Macaulay ? How shall we limit our selection of examples, 
in disproof of the alleged restriction to compiling gossip- 
ing, complimenting, pasquinading ? Why, as v/e turn over 
the papers preceding that number 81 which must be said 


to have begun tlie regular contributions of Addison, there 
is hardly a trait that fails to flash upon us the bright 
wit, the cordial humour, the sly satire, the subtle yet 
kindly criticism, the good-nature and humanity, which 
have endeared this delightful book to successive genera- 
tions of readers. There is, indeed, not less prominent at 
the outset than it continued to the close, the love of 
theatrical representations, and no doubt actors are criti- 
cised and preachers too ; but we require no better proof 
than the very way in which this is done, of the new and 
original spirit that entered with it into periodical literature. 
In both the critic finds means of detecting countless afi'ec- 
tations ; and no one acquainted with the Pulpit of that 
day, need feel surprise at the hints he gives of the service 
the Stage might render it, or that Mr. Betterton should 
have borrowed from Mr. Bickerstaff the answer to San- 
croft's question — Why it was that actors, speaking of 
things imaginary, afiected audiences as if they were real ; 
while preachers, speaking of things real, could only affect 
their congregations as with things imaginary ? '* Why 
" indeed I don't know ; unless it is that we actors speak of 
" things imaginary as if they were real, while you in 
" the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imagi- 
" nary." An admirable paper, to the same effect, among 
the early Tatlers, is that wherein he tells us, that in tragi- 
cal representations of the highest kind it is not the pomp 
of language, or the magnificence of dress, in which the 
passion is wrought that touches sensible spirits, "but 
" something of a plain and simple nature which breaks in 
" upon our souls by that sympathy which is given us for 
" our mutual good will and service." ^ And he illustrates 
his position by the example of Macduff when he hears of 
the murder of his children, and of Brutus when he 
speaks of the death of Portia. 

There is no criticism of Shakespeare, in that day, at all 
comparable to this of Steele's, at the outset and to the close 
of the Tatler. With no set analysis or fine-spun theory, 
but dropped only here and there, and from time to time, 
with a careless grace, it is yet of the subtlest discrimi- 
nation. He places the great dramatist as high in phi- 

1 Tatler, No. 68. 

Steele.'\ admiration of shakespeare. 173 

losophy as in poetry, and in the ethics of human life and 
passion quotes ever his authority as supreme. None hut 
Steele then thought. of criticising him in that strain. The 
examples just quoted, for instance, are used as lessons in 
art, but also as experiences for_patience under actual sor- 
row ; and he finely adds, that it is in life itsel? exactly as at 
one of his plays, where we see the man overwhelmed by 
grief yet struggling to bear it with decency and patience, 
we "sigh for him, and give him every groan he sup- 
" presses." In another Tatler (No. 47) he separates the 
author of Othello from the ordinary tragic poets, from the 
gentlemen, as he calls them, " who write in the buskin 
" style " (and they were legion then, beginning with his 
friend Mr. Rowe, and ending, though he refused to see 
that, with his friend Mr. Addison), by the excellent 
distinction, that it always seems as if Shakespeare were 
suffering the events represented, while the rest were 
merely looking on. In short, he says, there is no medium 
in these attempts, and you must go to the very bottom 
of the heart, or it is all mere language. His advice to 
his tragic friends therefore is, that they should read 
Shakespeare wdth care, and they will soon be deterred 
from putting forth what they persuade themselves to call 
tragedy. They are to read him, and to understand the 
distinction between pretending to be a thing, and being 
the thing they pretend. They are to read particularly, 
and mark the differences between the two — the speech, 
which old Northumberland addresses to the Messenger 
before, and that which he utters after, he knows of the 
death of Hotspur, his son; the last, one of the noblest 
passages in the whole of Shakespeare.^ And he warns 
them that " he who pretends to be sorrowful and is not, 
" is a wretch yet more contemptible than he who pretends 
" to be merry and is not." 

In this mode of eliciting, not merely canons of taste, 
but moral truths and rules of conduct, from the plays 
he sees acted, or the books he has been reading, Steele 

^ Colley Gibber soon afterwards Richard III. But wliat an asto- 

did "what he could to vulgarise nishing grandeur of passion there 

that speech of Northumberland's is in it ! — 

by wrenching it out of its place u ^ow bind my brows with iron- 
to fit it into his stage translation of ^^^ approach 


enriched his earliest and his latest Tatlers with a style of 
criticism which he must be said to have created. Nor is 
he satisfied with less than the highest models; delighting 
not more to place the philosophy above the poetry of 
Shakespeare, than to discover the sweetness and grace 
which underlie the majesty of Milton. The sixth Tatler 
begins the expression of his reverence for the latter poet ; 
and not until the last line of the last Tatler, on which 
Shakespeare's name is imprinted, does it cease in regard 
to either. It was he, and not his friend, who, in that age of 
little faith, first raised again the poet of Paradise; his allu- 
sions to him, from the very commencement, are incessant ; 
and a Tatler of but a few days earlier than that just 
quoted, contains not only the noble lines in which Adam 
contemplates the sleeping Eve, but, by way of comment 
on its picture of manly affection made up of respect and 
tenderness, throws out this delightful remark. *' This is 
" that sort of passion which truly deserves the name of 
" love, and has something more generous than friendship 
" itself; for it has a constant care of the object beloved, 
" abstracted from its own interests in the possession 

t^^a time in no wav; remarkable for refinement, Steele's 
gallantry to women/ihus incessantly expressed in the 
Tatler to the last, w^s that of a Sir Tristan or Sir Cali- 
dore ; and, in not a small degree, to every household into 
which it carried such unaccustomed language, this was a 
ground of its extraordinary success. Inseparable always 
from his passion is the exalted admiration he feels ; and 
his love is the very flower of his respect^^jxDelightfuUy 
does he say of a woman in the 206th Tatldr, that the love 
of her is not to be put apart from some esteem of her ; 

" The rugged'st hour that time and " But let one spirit of the first-born 

spite dare bring Cain 

** To frown upon the enrag'd North- " Reign in all bosoms ; that, each 

umberland. heart being set 

" Let heav'n kiss earth ! Now let " On bloody courses, the rude scene 

not Nature s liand may end, 

** Keep this wild flood confin'd ! let " And Darkness be the burier of the 

Order die ! dead ! " 

" And let this world no longer be a 

stage, In the whole of poetry, ancient and 

" To feed contention in a lingering modern, there is no image greater 

act ; than that. 

Steele.'\ on the education of women. 175 

and, as slie is naturally the object of affection, site who 
has your esteem has also some degree of your love. ::'^ut 
as, unhappily, a woman's education was then sunk to the 
lowest ebb, there is also no subject to which he has occa- 
sion so often and so eagerly to return, as a comparison of 
the large amount of care bestowed on her person with the 
little given to her mind. You deliver your daughter to a 
dancing-master, he says in one of these papers, you put 
a collar round her neck, you teaoh her every movement 
under pain of never having a husband if she steps, or 
looks, or moves awry ; and all the time you forget the true 
art, which " is to make mind and body improve together, 
" to make gesture follow thought, and not let thought be 
" employed upon gesture," " As he says, in another paper 
to the like effect, a woman must think well to look well.^ 
He is never weary of surrounding her form with hosts of 
graces and deHghts ; in her mind, how unused and uncul- 
tivated soever, he yet recognises always a finer and more 
deHcate humanity; and, of all the subtle and eloquent 
things ever uttered in her praise by poet or romancer, 
none have surpassed that fascinating eulogy of Lady 
Elizabeth Hastings which is contained in the 49th Tatler. 
" That awful distance which we bear toward her in all 
" our thoughts of her, and that cheerful familiarity with 
" which we approach her, are certain instances of her 
" being the truest object of love of any of her sex. In 
" this accomplished lady, love is the constant effect, 
" because it is never the design. Yet, though her mien 
^' carries much more invitation than command, to behold 
" her is an immediate check to loose behaviour, and to 
" love her is a liberal education.'* 

As we have turned to this charming passage, we meet 
another of his illustrations from Shakespeare, in which, 
rebuking the author of a new tragedy for relying too much 
on the retinue, guards, ushers, and courtiers of his hero 
to make him magnificent, " Shakespeare," he exclaims, 
" is our pattern. In the tragedy of Caesar he introduces 
" his hero in his night-gown." The resemblance of 
Addison's 42nd Spectator to this 53rd Tatler need not be 
pointed out ; and we shall be excused for saying, with all 

1 No. 212 ; and see No. 248. 


our love and respect for Addison, that he might with good 
effect have taken, now and then, even a hint of conduct, 
as well as one of criticism, from his friend. As to modes 
of dying, for example. The 11th Tatler, with a truth 
and spirit not to be surpassed, remarks that any doctrine 
on the subject of dying, other than that of living well, is 
the most insignificant and most empty of all the labours 
of men. A tragedian can die by rule, and wait till he 
discovers a plot, or says a fine thing upon his exit ; but 
in real life, and by noble spirits, it will be done decently, 
without the ostentation of it. Commend me, exclaims 
Steele, to that natural greatness of soul expressed by an 
innocent and consequently resolute country fellow, who 
said, in the pains of the cholic, " If I once get this breath 
" out of my body, you shall hang me before you put it in 
*' again." Honest Ned ! And so he died. 

And what hints of other characters, taken from the 
same portion of the Tatler, need we, or shall we, add to 
honest Ned's, in proof that Steele did not wait for Addi- 
son's help before stamping his design with the most 
marked feature that remained with it ? The difficulty is 
selection. Shall we take the wealthy wags who give one 
another credit in discourse according to their purses, who 
jest by the pound, and make answers as they honour bills ; 
and who, with unmoved muscles for the most exquisite 
wit whose banker's balance they are not acquainted with, 
smirk at every word each speaks to the other ?^ Shall 
we take the modest young bachelor of arts, who, thinking 
himself fit for anything he can get, is above nothing that 
is offered, and, having come to town recommended to a 
chaplain's place but finding none vacant, modestly accepts 
that of a postilion? 2 Shall we introduce the eminent 
storyteller and politician, who owes the regularity and 
fluency of his dullness entirely to his snuff-box ? ^ Shall 
we make acquaintance with the whimsical young gentle- 
man, so ambitious to be thought worse than he is, that, 
in his degree of understanding, he sets up for a free- 
thinker, and talks atheistically in coffee-houses all day, 
though every morning and evening, it can be proved upon 
him, he regularly at home says his prayers ? "^ Shall the 

1 Tatler, No. 57. ^ Tatlei-, No. 35. 

8 Tatler, No. 52. -» Tatler, No. 77. 



well-meaning Umbra take us by the button, and talk half 
an hour to us upon matters wholly insignificant with 
an air of the utmost solemnity, that we may teach our- 
selves the charity of not being offended with what has a 
good intention in it, by remembering that to little men. 
little things are of weight, and that, though our courteous, 
friend never served us, he is ever willing to do it, and 
believes he really does do it ? ^ Or, while Mr. Bickerstafl^ 
thus teaches us that impotent kindness is to be tolerated,, 
shall Mrs. Jenny Distaff show us that impotent malice is 
not ; and that society should scout the fool who cannot 
listen to praise without whispering detraction, or hear a 
man of worth named without recounting the worst 
passage of his life.^ 

Shall we follow into Garraway's or the Stock Exchange 
those two men, in whom so striking a contrast appears of 
plain simplicity with imposing affectation, and learn that 
the sort of credit which commerce affects is worthless, if but 
sustained by the opinions of others and not by its own 
consciousness of value ? ^ Shall we let the smallest of 
pedants, Will Dactyle, convince us that learning does but 
improve in us what nature endowed us with ; for that, not 
to have good sense with learning is only to have more 
ways of exposing oneself, and to have sense is to know 
that learning itself is not knowledge?* Shall the best 
natured of old men, Senecio, prove to us that the natural 
and not the acquired man is the companion ; that benevo- 
lence is the only law of good-breeding; that society can? 
take no account of fortune ; and that he who brings his 
quality with him into conversation, coming to receive 
homage and not to meet his friends, should pay the reck- 
oning also?' Shall we listen to Will Courtly, saying 
nothing but what was said before, yet appearing neither 
ignorant among the learned nor indiscreet with the wise„ 

^ Tatler, No. 37. ** faculties, and not to disguise our 

2 Tatler, No. 38. " imperfections. It is therefore ia 

' Tatler, No. 48. ** vain for folly to attempt to conceal 

■* Tatler, No. 58. This subject " itself by the refuge of learned 

he pursues in another admirable " langnages. Literature does but 

Tatler of later date (No. 197), where " make a man more eminently the 

he points out that "all the true use " thing which Nature made him." 

" of what we call learning is to en- * Tatler^ No. 45. 
" noble and improve our natural 



and acknowledge, so long as Will can thus converse with 
the wittiest without being ridiculous, that, if ceremony is 
the invention of wise men to keep fools at a distance, 
good-breeding must be its opposite expedient of putting 
wise men and less wise on an equality ? ^ Shall we make 
ourselves easy in the company of Sophronius, who, when 
he does a service, charms us not more by his alacrity 
than, when he declines one, by his manner of convincing 
us that such service should not have been asked ? ^ Or 
shall we fidget ourselves in a room with Jack Dimple, 
who, having found out that what makes Sophronius 
acceptable is a natural behaviour, in order to the same 
reputation makes his own entirely artificial, meditates 
half an hour in the ante- room to get up his careless air, 
and is continually running back to the mirror to recollect 
his forgetfulness ? ' 

Such are among a few of the characters and essays 
which, while Mr. Macaulay would represent the Tatler as 
yet given up to sheer commonplace, Steele with a pro- 
digal wit and exuberant fancy was pouring out upon its 
readers. We touch but slightly these few, and only hint 
at their purport and design ; entering into no more detail 
than may carry with it the means of outweighing an asser- 
tion, advanced on authority too high to be met by mere 
assertion of our own. We leave fifty things unnamed, 
and take from those named only a sentence here and 
there : but is it not enough ? Not to speak of what will 
better be described hereafter, of social colouring and indi- 
vidual expression, have we not here what gave life to the 
Tatler'} Have we not the sprightly father of the English 
Essay, writing at the first even as he wrote to the last ; 
out of a true and honest heart sympathising with all 
things good and true; already master of his design 
in beginning it, and able to stand and move without 
help of any kind, if the need should be ? In his easy 
chair we shall hereafter see Mr. Bickerstaff, amid the 
rustling of hoop-petticoats, the fluttering of fans, and the 
obeisance of flowing perukes : but what here for the pre- 
sent we see, is the critic and philosopher Steele, more 
wise and not less agreeable ; who, in an age that faction 

1 TatltT, No. 30. * Ti tier, No. 21. ' Ibid. 

Sleele,"] getting wisdom out of trifles. 179 

brutalised and profligacy debased, undertook the censor- 
sliip of manners, and stamped at once upon the work he 
invented a genius as original as delightfuL Here we 
have ourselves the means of judging if it was gossip, and 
compliments, and pasquinades, in the midst of which 
Addison found his friend ; or whether, already, he had not 
struck out the thought by which both must be famous for 
ever, of enlivening morality with wit, and tempering wit 
with morality ? 

But another fact is not less manifest in the examples 
given, and with it perhaps something of excuse for the 
£alf contemptuous tone that has done him such injustice, 
'^here is nothing so peculiar to his manner as the art of 
getting wisdom out of trifles. Without gravely trans- 
lating his humorous announcement,^ that, when any part 
of his paper appeared dull, it was to be noted that there 
was a design in it, we may say with perfect truth that he 
had a design in everything. But a laugh never yet looked , 
so wise as a frown ; and, unless you are at pains to look 
a little beneath it, the wisdom of Mr. Isaac Bickerstaff 
may now and then escape yoiy' The humorous old gentle- 
man who is always prying into his neighbours' concerns, 
when he is not gossiping of his own ; to whom the young 
beau is made responsible for wearing red-heeled shoes, 
and the young belle for showing herself too long at her 
glass; who turns the same easy artillery of wit against 
the rattling dice-box and the roaring pulpit ; who has 
early notice of most of the love-afi'airs in town, can tell 
you of half the domestic quarrels, and knows more of a 
widow with a handsome jointure than her own lawyer or 
next of kin ; whose tastes take a range as wide as his 
experience, to whom Plutarch is not less familiar than a 
pretty fellow, and who has for his clients not only the 
scholars of the Grecian, but the poets at Will's, the men 
of fashion at White's, and the quidnuncs of the St. 
James's, — this old humourist,' yoa would say, is about the 
last man to pass for a Socrates.r^nd yet there was some- 
thing more than whim in the good Isaac's ambition to 
have it said of his Lucubrations, that, whereas Socrates had j 
brought philosophy down from heaven to inhabit among I 

K 2 

180 HUMANiTAS HUMANissiMA. [S/V Richard 

\ men, he liad himself aimed to bring philosophy out of 
closets and libraries, schools and collegps, to dwell in 
clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and in cofFee-houses^>^ 
For, it is his actual and marked peculiarity, that neither 

^more nor less than this may generally be detected in 
Steele. One of the sincerest of men, he was the most 
natural of writers ; and, living in the thick of the world, 
he could not' write but with a vivid and ever present 
sense of it. "/The humanitas humanissima is never absent 
from him. If he takes up a book, it is not for a bookish 
purpose ; he is thinking always of the life around him^/> 
Never yet, we think, has he had the due and distinctive 
praise for this, which in some sort separates him from 
every humourist and satirist of his time. Wit more 
piercing and keen, a reflective spirit of wider scope, a style 
more correct and pure, even humour more consummate than 
his own, will be found, in the way of comment upon life, 
among his friends and fellow- labourers ; but, for that 
which vividly brings actual Life before us, which touches 
the heart as with a present experience, which sympathises 
to the very core with all that moves the joy or sorrow of his 
fellows, and which still, even as then, can make the follies 
of men ridiculous and their vices hateful without branding 
ridicule or hate upon the men themselves, — we must turn 
to Steele, ^n his little pictures of the world, that open 
new and unexpected views of it ; in his wonderfully pathetic 
little stories, that fill our eyes with tears ; in those trivial 
details by which he would make life easier and happier, 
in those accidents the most common and familiar out of 
which he draws secrets of humanity ; what most, after aU, 
impresses us, is a something independent of authorshigj^ 
We like him the more for being nearer and more like our- 
selves, not for being higher or standing apart ; and it is 
still the man whom his writings make pleasant to us, more 
than the author, the wit, thepartizan, or the fine gentleman. 
And a great reason for this we take to be, that he 
founded his theory and views of life rather on the 
realities that men should bravely practise, than on the 
pretences^) which for the most part they shamefully 
submit. 'To be a man of breeding, was with him to be a 
man of feeling ; to be a fine gentleman, in his own phrase, 
was to be a generous and brave man ; he had a proper 

Steele.~\ ox vulgarity. 181 

contempt for the good manners that did not also impty 
the good morals ; and it was the exalting and purifying 
influence of love for Lady Betty Modish, that made his 
Colonel Ranter cease to swear at the waiters^ Be his 
theme, therefore, small or great, he hrings it sull within 
rules and laws which we find have not lost their interest 
for ourselves ; and to which, in truth, we are in all respects 
still as amenable, as if the red-heeled shoe, the hooped 
petticoat, or the flowing peruke, were yet potent and pre- 
dominant in our century. As an instance which at once 
will explain our meaning, let us take what he says of 
vulgarity. It also is in one of these early Tatlers.' 
There is perhaps no word so misused, certainly none of 
which the misuse is so mischievous ; and not unfairly, by 
the opinions held of it, we may .take the measure of a 
code of ethics and philosophy. 
^y^^ieelQ^^ view of the matter, then, is, that it is to him 
a very great meanness, and something much below a 
philosopher, which is what he means by a gentleman, to 
rank a man among the vulgar for the condition of life he 
is in, and not according to his behaviour, his thoughts, 
and his sentiments in that conditionJ?^ For, as he puts it, 
if a man be loaded with riches and honours, and in that 
state has thoughts and inclinations below the meanest 
workman, is not such a workman, who within his power 
is good to his friends and cheerful in his occupation, 
much superior in all ways to him who lives but to serve 
himself ? He then quotes the comparison, from Epictetus, 
of human life to a stage play ; in which the philosopher 
tells us it is not for us to consider, among the actors, who 
is prince or who is beggar, but who acts prince or beggar 

^ Tatler, No. 10. " extraordinary in such a man as 

* Tatler, No. 69. " lie is, and tlie like ; when they 

^ How charmingly he illustrates " are forced to acknowledge the 

this in his paper on the death of '* value of him whose lowness up- 

Richard Eastcourt the comedian, one *' braids their exaltation. It is to 

of his masterpieces of feeling and ** this humour only it is to be 

style, a brief extract will show : "ascribed, that a quick wit in 

" It is an insolence natural to the " conversation, a nice judgment 

** wealthy, to affix, as much as in "upon any emergency that could 

*' them lies, the character of a man " arise, and a most blameless in- 

" to his circumstances. Thus it is "offensive behaviour, could not 

' ' ordinary with them to praise ' ' raise this man above being re- 

" faintly the good qualities of those " ceived only upon the foot of con- 

" below them, and say, it is very " tributing to mirth and diversion.'* 


best. In other words, the circumstance of life should not 
be that which gives us place, but our conduct in that 
circumstance. This alone can be our solid distinction ; 
and from it Steele proceeds to draw certain rules of 
breeding and behaviour. A wise man, he says, should 
think no man above him or below him, any fui'ther than 
it regards the outward order or discipline of the world ; 
for, if we conceive too great an idea of the eminence of 
those above, or of the subordination of those below, it 
will have an ill effect upon our behaviour to both. With 
a noble spirit he adds, that he who thinks . no man his 
superior but for virtue, and none his inferior but for vice, 
can never be obsequious or assuming in a wrong place ; 
but will be ready as frequently to emulate men in rank 
below him, as to avoid and pity those above. Not that 
there was anything of the democrat, or leveller, in Steele. 
He knew too well that the distinctions of life, if taken at 
their true worth, would never fail to support themselves ; 
and it was his knowledge of the quite irrepressible 
influence of wealth and station, that urged him to such 
repeated enforcement of the social charities and duties to 
which he believed them to be also not less bound. It was 
no easy part, in his opinion, that the man of rank and 
wealth had to play. It was no easy thing, in friendly 
intercourse, to check the desire to assume mme superiority 
on the ground of position or fortune. It is not every 
man, he said with an exquisite felicity of phrase, that can 
entertain with the air of a guest, and do good offices with 
the mien of one that receives them. 
^ J The subject, ha^dng drawn us so far, tempts us to other 

^ ^ illustrations// As Steele thus held, in the great commerce 
of the world, that a man must be valued apart from his 
circumstances, in like manner he also held, that, in his 
relations with it, he must regulate what he would appear 
to be by nothing other than actually becoming it. Nor 
is there, in this mode of reasoning, anything too little or 
too great not to yield as its result, to his philosophy, the 
value of reality beyond appearance// The fatality, he re- 
marks in the 27th Tatler, under which most men labour, 
of desiring to be what they are not, makes them go out 
of a method in which they might be received with 
applause, and would certainly excel, into one wherein 

Steele.~\ on appearance and reality. 183 

tliey will all their life have the air of strangers to what 
/ they aim at. y "With him originated the teaching, that a 
I man must not hope to pass for anything more than he is 
worth ; that he must take care of his own wisdom and 
his own virtue, without minding too much what others 
think ; and that, in what he knows himself that he has, 
can rest his only safe pledge at any time for its acknow- ^ 
ledgment by other^ Not all the mistakes, he argued, 
in a noble paper or somewhat later date than these to 
which we have been referring,' committed by the vain 
and the proud, in taking praise for honour and ceremony 
for respect, could ever tend to make vanity and pride in 
themselves less ridiculous and odious ; for what springs 
out of falsehood may not be cured by anything short of 
truth. To no end is it, therefore, that men study to 
appear considerable, if in their own hearts they be not 
actual possessors of the requisites for the esteem they 
seek. What in the former case is impossible, would in 
this be unavoidable ; and it is the only rule to walk by 
safely. Hence, proceeds Steele, it will be a useful hint in 
all such cases for a man to ask himself, whether he really 
is what he has a mind to he thought ; for if he is, he need ^ 
not give himself much further anxiety. '^ What will the ^ 
" World say," would then no longer be his question in 
matters of difficulty ; as if the terror lay wholly in the 
sense which others, and not ourselves, should have of our 
actions. And so we should destroy the one fatal source 
from which have arisen all the impostors in every art 
and profession, in all places, among all persons, in con- > 
versation, in business, in society, in the worl(j/'' " Hence 
" also is it," he adds quietly, and with excellent effect 
after all his emphasis, " that a vain fellow takes twice as 
" much pains to be ridiculous as would make him sin- 
" cerely agreeable." For we are never to be permitted 
to lose sight of the fact, that the little and the great 
subserve still the same truths and laws, in the eyes of 
our kindly philosopher, tatler, and companion. 

To which end, from every part of his delightful book, 
it would be easy to continue our instances and illustra- 
tions, to the still recurring evidence and proof that there 
is nothing to be imagined so trivial which may not yet 

1 Tatler, No. 186. 


be used to establisli tlie superiority of truth over all the 
affectations and pretences. " I have heard," he remarks 
in one of the later Tatlers/ " my old friend Mr. Hart ' 
*' speak it as an observation among the players that it is 
" impossible to act with grace except the actor has forgot 
" that he is before an audience." Still the reasoning is 
the same, still the conclusion is unerring, whether the 
audience be the world, the coffee-house, the drawing- 
room, or the theatre ; and you would hardly suppose, by 
his manner of handling any, that Mr. Bickerstaff thought 
the least of less importance than the greatest. For, 
indeed, in his mode of viewing life, neither is quite inde- 
pendent of the other ; and it was he who first compared 
the man of much knowledge and many thoughts, unprac- 
tised in the arts of society, to one who has his pockets 
full of gold but always wants change for his ordinary 
occasions. " We see a world of pains taken," he con- 
tinues,^ " and the best years of life spent, in collecting a 
^* set of thoughts in a college for the conduct of life ; and, 
" after all, the man so qualified shall hesitate in his speech 
" to a good suit of clothes, and want common sense before 
*^ an agreeable woman." 

The remark opportunely takes us back to those earlier 
Tatlers which contain it, and to the purpose for which we 
have referred to them ; nor will its hints as to college 
life render less appropriate the single additional reference 
we shall make, before resuming what waits us still of Mr. 
Macaulay's censure. In his 39th Tatler, Mr. Bickerstaff 
visits Oxford : not in search of popular preachers to 
criticise, of pretty faces to compliment, or of youthful 
follies to pasquinade ; but to refresh his imagination in a 
scene sacred to civilisation and learning, where so far his 
own social philosophy prevails, that not the fortunes but 

^ Tatler^ No. 138. *' rior, just as we do of Betterton's 

2 This was the actor to whom ** being superior to those now." 

Pope makes the characteristic allu- It is the universal rule in such mat- 

sion in speaking of Betterton. "I ters. When Lady Louisa Meyrick 

"was acquainted with Betterton was taken to see Mrs. Siddons, she 

" from a boy. . . . Yes, I really protested that, compared with the 

*' think Betterton the best actor I favourite of her youth, Mrs. Porter, 

** ever saw ; but I ought to tell you, her grief was the giief of a cheese- 

*' at the same time, that in Better- monger's wife. 
" ton's days the older sort of people ^ Tatler, No. 30. 

" talked of Hart's being his supe- 

Steele.^ attack on Steele by macaulay. 185 

the understandings of men exact distinction and pre- 
cedence, and you shall see an Earl walk bareheaded to 
the son of the meanest artificer, in respect to seven years' 
more knowledge and worth than the nobleman is pos- 
sessed of. "The magnificence of their palaces," adds 
Steele, " the greatness of their revenues, the sweetness 
" of their groves and retirements, seem equally adapted 
" for the residence of princes and philosophers ; and a 
" familiarity with objects of splendour, as well as places 
" of recess, prepares the inhabitants with an equanimity 
*' for their future fortunes, whether humble or illustrious." 
We think, as we read the paper, of some of the most 
pleasing turns of Addison. 

But, alas ! what would be said to such a remark by 
Mr. Macaulay, who, taking up the project of the Tatler at 
the low design we have seen him attribute to it, proceeds 
drily to describe its editor as " wo^ ^7/-qualified " to give 
efiect to such a plan ? Steele was not i7/-qualified, that 
is, to compile news, to give an account of a theatrical 
representation, to collect literary gossip at Will's and the 
Grecian, to remark on fashionable topics, to compliment 
a beauty, to pasquinade a sharper, or to criticise a popular 
preacher. For, Mr. Macaulay continues, his public intel- 
ligence he drew from the best sources j he not only knew 
the town, but had paid dear for his knowledge ; "he had 
" read much more " (now, do not let the sanguine reader 
expect too much) " than the dissipated men of that time 
" were in the habit of reading ; " if he was a rake among 
scholars, he was a scholar among rakes ; nay, his style 
was even easy and not incorrect ; and though his wit and 
humour were of no high order, his gay animal spirits 
imparted to his compositions an air of vivacity which 
ordinary readers could hardly distinguish from comic 
genius. " His writings have been well compared to those 
" light wines which, though deficient in body and flavour, 
" are yet a pleasant small drink, if not kept too long, or 
" carried too far." It is sufiiciently clear, at least, that 
they have survived too long for Mr. Macaulay. Yinegar 
is not more sour than the pleasant small drink, kept now 
too long by nearly a century and a half, is become to 

We must accept it, we suppose, as among the chances 


and vicissitudes to which old reputations are subject. 
Steele was famed as a wit before Pope came upon the 
town, and in those days a young poet who could say he 
had dined with him was not without claims to considera- 
tion.' In the succeeding age, this opinion went on gather- 
ing strength ; and it was enough for a man to have 
merely written a single paper in one of the works he con- 
ducted, to be thought entitled to unquestioned celebrity. 
" For example," said Murphy to Johnson,^ " there is Mr. 
" Ince, who used to frequent Tom's Coffee-house ; he has 
" obtained considerable fame merely from having written 
" a paper in the Spectator.^' " But," interposed Johnson, 
" you must consider how highly Steele speaks of Mr. 
'' Ince." The dull Dr. Hurd followed, and brayed Steele 
down loudly enough ; but afterwards came a reaction, the 
laborious and industrious Nichols produced careful 
editions of his writings, and he resumed his admitted rank 
as a humourist of the first order, the most pathetic of 
story-tellers, the kindest of wits and critics, and, of all 
the fathers of English Essay, the most natural and the 
most inventive. Charles Lamb, Hazlitt, and Leigh Hunt, 
no inconsiderable authorities, even placed him above his 
friend, on an eminence where we cannot and need not 
follow them. What now has befallen him in the other 
extreme we see, and that more than two hundred Tatlers, 
nearly two hundred and fifty Spectators, and some eighty" 
Guardians, to say nothing of Englishmen, Lovers, Eeaders, 
Theatres, Town Talks, Plebeians, Chit Chats, and what 
not, have failed to win from Mr. Macaulay as much 
kindly recognition, as the good old Samuel Johnson was 
ready to reward Mr. Ince with, for one Spectator. 

But we cannot unresistingly surrender the fame of 
Steele even to Mr. Macaulay's well-merited fame. To a 
reputation which time has made classical there belongs 
what no new reputation can have, till it shall in turn 
become old ; and in the attempt to reverse, by a few con- 

^ The reader of Pope will remem- " 'Twas all the ambition his high 

ber his laugh at Ambrose Philips : soul could feel, 

- When simple Macer, now of high " ^o wear red stockings, and to dine 

renown, with Steele." 

"First sought a poet's fortune in 2 BosweirsZi/e, 10th April, 1776. 

the town : 

Steele.~\ affection foe, addison. 187 

temptuous sentences, a verdict of nearly two centuries, 
it is the assailant who is most in peril. The disadvantage 
doubtless is great in having to meet a general attack by 
detailed assertion of the claims denied, but abeady we 
have not shrunk from that detail ; and still, before enter- 
ing on such a sketch of Steele's personal career as may 
best perhaps fix those claims, and ascertain his real place 
among the men of his time, more of the same kind awaits 
us. But we will not be tempted into comparisons that 
would have given pain to his own generous nature. There 
was no measure to Steele's afiection for Addison. Even 
Fielding's wit could not exaggerate the eagerness with 
which, on all occasions, he depreciated his own writings to 
exaggerate those of his friend. He was above all men in 
the talent we call humour, he exclaimed again and again ; 
he had it in a form more exquisite and delightful than 
any other man ever possessed. He declared, in the last 
number of the TatleVy that its finest strokes of wit and 
humour had been Addison's. He avowed himself, in the 
last number of the Spectator^ more proud of Addison's 
long-continued friendship than he should be of the fame 
of being thought even the author of his writings. " I 
" fared like a distressed prince," he said again, speaking 
of him in the preface to the Tatler's last volume, " who 
" calls in a powerful neighbour to his aid. I was undone 
" by my auxiliary. When I had once called him in, I 
" could not subsist without dependence on him." That 
Addison had changed the design of the paper, he never 
said ; but he never tired of saying that his genius had 
elevated and enriched it. Again, and still again, at 
various times, he reasserts this with all the hearty warmth 
of his unselfish and unmisgiving nature. *' I rejoiced in 
" being excelled," he exclaims, remarking on Mr. Tickell's 
not very generous doubts ; ^' and made those little talents, 
" whatever they are, which I have, give way, and be sub- 
" servient to the superior qualities of a friend whom I 
" loved." Eeplying to a more savage attack by Dennis, 
he still contrives occasion to refer to " that excellent man 
" whom Heaven made my friend and superior." Nor had 
that friend been many weeks in his grave, when, forgetful 
of all that had clouded their latter intercourse, and having 
a necessity to mention their joint connection with the 


Tatler and Spectator^ lie describes himself as not merely 
the inventor of those papers, but the introducer into them 
of ^' a much better writer than himself who is now im- 
" mortal." ' Such a feeling we are bound to respect, we 
think, out of respect to him who entertained it; even 
while we see that he suffers no disadvantage from such a 
noble modesty. 

We take therefore a specific statement made by Mr. 
Macaulay, not necessarily involving a comparison, though 
made to justify the contempt which would sacrifice one 
reputation to the other ; and we shall meet it by some 
additional references to Tatlers written by Steele, so made 
as also to include some means of judgment upon them. 
After stating that at the close of 1709 the work was more 
popular than any periodical paper had ever been, and that 
Addison's connexion with it was generally known, Mr. 
Macaulay adds that it was not however known that almost 
everything good in it was his ; and that his fifty or sixty 
numbers were not merely the best, but so decidedly the 
best, that any five of them were more valuable than all 
the two hundred numbers in which he had no share. In 
mere extent, we may pause to remark, the participation 
was not so large ; for, of the sixty numbers printed by 
Tickell, not much fewer than twenty were joint compo- 
sitions, and Steele bore his full and equal part in those 
humorous proceedings before the Court of Honour, where 
even Bishop Hurd is fain to admit that " Sir Richard 
" hath acquitted himself better than usual." But to 
dwell further upon this would involve what we wish to 
avoid. What is absolutely good, or absolutely bad, is not 
matter of relation or comparison : and if, upon the 
examples of Steele's Tatlers which now we are about to 
add to those already named, any question or doubt can be 
raised of their wit, feeling, or truth ; of their invention, their 
observation of life and of the shades of character ; of their 
humour, or the high moral tendency of their satire ; nay, 
even of their sweetness, facility, and grace of style ; the 
verdict will pass which determines, not this or that degree 
of inferiority to his friend, but the issue specifically raised 
by Mr. Macaulay, of whether or not, independently 

» The Theatre No. 8, Jan. 26, 1719-20. 

Sleele.'] tale told by mr. bickerstaff. 189 

of sucli considerations, Steele's title as an English 
humourist is to he conceded any longer. The statue 
has been flung down from its pedestal, but its features 
remain yet undefaced; and upon an honest and im- 
partial judgment of them, must rest its claim to be 

Our first example shall be a domestic picture, drawn 
by Steele in two Tatlers of within a few weeks' date of 
each other (Nos. 95 and 114), which to our thinking 
includes in itself almost every quality enumerated, and 
that in no indifferent degree. It is a common-life interior, 
of a truth and exactness which Wilkie or Leslie might 
have painted, and of that kind of pathos and purity which 
Goldsmith or Dickens might have written. In connexion 
with it, too, it is to be remembered that at this time, as 
Mr. Macaulay observes in his Essay, no such thing as the 
English novel existed. De Foe as yet was only an eager 
politician, Eichardson an industrious compositor, Fielding 
a mischievous schoolboy, and Smollett and Goldsmith 
were not born. For your circulating libraries (the first of 
which had been established some six years before, to the 
horror of sellers of books, and the ruin of its ingenious 
inventor) there was as yet nothing livelier, in that direc- 
tion, than the interminable Grand Cyrus of Madame de 
Scuderi, or the long-winded Cassandra and Pharamond 
of the lord of La Calprenede, which Steele so heartily 
laughed at in his Tender Husband. 

The little story conveyed in the two papers is of the 
simplest possible description. Mr. Bickerstaff visits an 
old married friend, who had been his schoolfellow and 
his college companion, in whose house he always feels as 
in a second home, and where, as soon as the family come 
to town for the winter, he is expected to dinner as a 
matter of course. How pretty is the opening scene! " I 
*' cannot, indeed, express the pleasure it is to be met by 
" the children with so much joy as I am when I go 
" thither. The boys and girls strive who shall come 
*' first, when they think it is I that am knocking at the 
" door; and that child which loses the race to me runs back 
" again to tell the father it is Mr. Bickerstafi". This day 
" I was led in by a pretty girl that we all thought must 
*' have forgot mc, for the family has been out of town 


" these two years. Her knowing me again was a mighty 
" subject with us, and took up our discourse at the first 
" entrance." Then follows pleasant raillery of Mr. Bic- 
kerstaff from all the circle, upon numberless Kttle stories 
that had been told of him in the country ; the hints they 
have heard of his marriage with a young lady there ; the 
hope they express that he will yet give the preference to our 
eldest daughter, Mrs. Mary, now sixteen ; and the father's 
laughing disbeliefs, founded on Mr. B's love afi'airs of old, 
and the verses he wrote on Teraminta. But after dinner 
the friends are alone, and then fears for his wife's health 
break from the husband, which the other tries to turn 
aside ; and so arise genial memories of the past, Mr. Bic- 
kerstaff talking over all his friend's courting days again, 
how they first saw her at the playhouse, and it was himself 
who followed her from the playhouse to ascertain her name, 
and who carried his friend's first love-letter to her, and 
who carried it back to him unopened, and how foolishly 
wretched he then was to think her angry in earnest. But 
the pleasant memory of sorrow that was unreal, and had 
passed away, cannot abate the abiding and still recurring 
fear. " That fading in her countenance," he says, " is 
" chiefly caused by her watching with me in my fever." 
But, handsomer than ever to him is the pale face ; and 
nothing in all the boisterous passions of their youth, he 
tells his friend, can compare in depth and intensity with 
the love he feels in manhood. The poor bachelor thinks, 
as the other speaks, that now he shall never know it. 
" Her face," continues the husband more calmly, " is to 
" me much more beautiful than when I first saw it ; there 
" is no decay in any feature, which I cannot trace from 
'* the very instant it was occasioned by some anxious con- 
" cern for my welfare and interests." With which 
thought, the tide of his sorrow comes again upon him ; 
and he describes his sinking heart as he hears the children 
play in the next room, and thinks what the poor things 
shall do when she is gone. Whereupon she re-enters ; 
and he brightens again at her cheerful face; and she 
knows what he has been talking of, and ralHes him, and 
means to have Mr. Bickerstaff for her second husband 
unless this first will take greater care of himself; and 
finally gets Mr. Bickerstaff to promise to take her again 


to the playhouse, in memory of his having followed her 
one night from the playhonse. 

The children then reappear to complete a domestic 
interior, which, at a time when wit had no higher employ- 
ment than to laugh at the affections and moralities of 
home, could have arisen only to a fancy as pure as the 
heart that prompted it was loving and true. The noisiest 
among them is Mr. Bickerstaff's godson, Dick, in whose 
conversation, however, though his drum is a Httle in the 
way, this nice gradation of incredulity appears, that, hav- 
ing got into the lives and adventures of Guy of Warwick, 
the Seven Champions, and other historians of that age, 
he shakes his head at the improbability of ^sop's Fables. 
But the mother becomes a little jealous of the godson 
carrying off too much attention ; and she will have her 
friend admire little Mrs. Betty's accompKshments, which 
accordingly are described ; and so the conversation goes 
on till late, when Mr. Bickerstaff leaves the cordial fire- 
side, considering the different conditions of a married Kfe 
and the life of a bachelor, and goes home in a pensive 
mood to his maid, his dog, and his cat, who only can 
be the better or the worse for what happens to him. 

But the little story is only half told. Having for its 
design to show that the pleasures of married life are too 
little regarded, that thousands have them and do not 
enjoy them, and that it is therefore a kind and good 
office to acquaint such people with their own happiness, 
he with it connects the solemn warning to be drawn from 
its fleeting tenure, and the Limited duration of all enjoy- 
ment on earth. 

Two mouths have elapsed, it is the last day of the year, 
and Mr. Bickerstaff is walking about his room very cheer- 
fully, when a coach stops at his door, a lad of fifteen 
alights, and he perceives the eldest son of his school- 
fellow. The pleasant thought has occurred to him that 
the father was just such a stripling at the time of their 
first knowledge of each other, when the boy enters, takes 
his hand, and bursts into tears. His thought at the 
moment is with his friend, and with sudden concern he 

inquires for him. The reply, " My mother ," and 

the tears that choke further utterance, tell Mr. Bickerstaff 
all. His friend's worst forebodings have come suddenly 

193 A DEATH-BED SCENE. \_Sir PJchard 

true. He hurries to the house; meets the celebrated 
divine, Dr. Smallridge, just quitting it ; and, by the sup- 
pressed grief of the mourners as he enters, knows what 
hope and consolation that sacred teaching has left. But 
the husband, at sight of him, cannot but turn a\A'ay his 
face and weep again ; and the little family of children 
renew the expressions of their sorrow, according to their 
several ages and degrees of understanding. The eldest 
daughter, in tears, is busied in attendance upon her 
mother ; others are kneeling about the bedside ; " and 
*' what troubled me most was to see a little boy, who was 
" too young to know the reason, weeping only because his 
*' sisters did.'' In the room, there is only one person 
unmoved ; and as he approaches the bed she says in a 
low broken voice, " This is kindly done. Take care of 
" your friend — do not go from him ! '^ She has taken 
leave of them all, and the end is come. " My heart was 
*' torn in pieces to see the husband on one side suppress- 
" ing and keeping down the swellings of his grief, for 
" fear of disturbing her in her last moments ; and the 
" wife, even at that time, concealing the pains she 
*' endured, for fear of increasing his affliction. She kept 
" her eyes upon him for some moments after she grew 
" speechless, and soon after closed them for ever. In the 
*^ moment of her departure, my friend, who had thus far 
" commanded himself, gave a deep groan, and fell into a 
*' swoon by her bedside.'' The few calm grave sentences 
that follow this description are known to have been 
written by Addison. It would seem as though Steele 
felt himself unable to proceed, and his friend had taken 
the pen from his trembling hand. 

Need we indicate other stories, told yet more briefly, 
more in the manner of direct relations, and all of them 
pathetic in the extreme ? Inkle and Yarico, which has 
filled with tears so many eyes, and the story of Alexander 
Selkirk, which suggested De Foe's wonderful romance, 
belong to Steele's writings in the Spectator ; but, in the 
Tatler, we have Valentine and Unnion (No. 5), the Fire at 
the Theatre (No. 94), the domestic tragedy of Eustace 
(No. 172), the Shipwreck and the Wedding Day (both 
contained in No. 82), and the Dream (No. 117). All these 
tales have an artless, unpretending simplicity, and a charm 


quite unpremeditated, but which, is yet combined with a 
reality and intensity of pathos, affecting to a degree that 
the equally brief narrations of any other writer have never, 
in our judgment, equalled. Of the Dream in especial the 
contrivance is so inimitable, and the moral so impressive, 
that within the same compass we know of nothing at all 
approaching to its effect. A lover and his mistress are 
toying and trifling together in a summer evening on Dover- 
cHff ; she snatches a copy of verses from his hand and runs 
before him ; he is eagerly following, when he beholds on 
a sudden the ground sink under her, and she is dashed 
down the height. " I said to myself, it is not in the 
" power of Heaven to relieve me ! when I awaked, 
" equally transported and astonished to see myself 
" drawn out of an affliction which, the very moment 
" before, appeared to me altogether inextricable." 
This has been given to Addison, but it is certainly 

It will be consonant with the emotion suggested by it 
to pass, for our next example, to what is said of untimely 
deaths in No. 181, one of the most tender and beautiful 
essays that the Tatler contains. Such deaths, says Steele, 
we are most apt to lament, so little are we able to make it 
indifferent when a thing happens, though we know it 

Cmust happen. " Thus we groan under life, and bewail 
" those who are relieved from it.'' And especially he 
applies this to his recollection of the many gallant, gay, 
and agreeable spirits lost in war, where yet, he finely adds, 
a We gather relief enough from their own contempt of 
" death, to make that no evil which was approached 
" with so much cheerfulness, and attended with so much 
" honour." He then relates his saddest experience ; 
recalling, in a few short sentences of great deHcacy, the 
beauty, innocence, and untimely death of the girl he had 
first loved. " The beauteous virgin ! how ignorantly did 
" she charm, how carelessly excel ! O Death ! thou hast 
" right to the bold, to the ambitious, to the high, and to 
" the haughty ; but, why this cruelty to the humble, to 
"the meek, to the undiscerning, to the thoughtless? 
" Nor age, nor business, nor distress, can erase the dear 
'' image from my imagination. In the same week, I saw 
" her dressed for a ball, and in the shroud. How ill did 

194 IDEAL OF A GENTLEMAN. [Sir Rickard 

" the liabit of death become the pretty trifler. I still 

" behold the smiling earth '' 

Another treatment of the same grave theme is in the 
noble character he draws of Addison, under the name of 
Ignotus. What chiefly makes his friend become this life 
so perfectly, he says, is his firm and unshaken expectation 
of another ; and he lays it down as the only solid reason 
for doing all things well, that a man should consider his 
present being as an uncertain one, and think to reap an 
advantage by its discontinuance. Such a one, Steele con- 
tinues, does not behold his existence as a short, transient, 
perplexing state, made up of trifling pleasures, and great 
anxieties ; but he sees it in quite another light : his griefs 
are momentary, and his joys immortal. Eeflection upon 
death is not a gloomy and sad thought of resigning every- 
thing that he delights in, but it is a short night followed 
by an endless day. From all which, and from his friend's 
ever easy and delightful manners, he draws the conclusion 
that " to be a fine gentleman is to be a generous and a 
" brave man." To the same conclusion, too, he brings 
another thoroughly characteristic paper in JSTo. 246. It 
is a wise essay on the toleration of one another's faults, 
pointing out how faintly any excellence is received, and 
how unmercifully every imperfection is exposed: from 
which it occurs to him to suggest, that we should all be 
more considerate to each other, and society a thousand 
times more easy, if we could better familiarise ourselves 
to the idea of mortality ; if we could bring ourselves to 
the habit of seeing that we are strangers here, and that 
it is unreasonable to expect we should have anything 
about us as well as at our own home. All faults, he 
thinks, might then be reduced into those which proceed 
from malice or dishonesty ; it would quite change our 
manner of beholding one another ; nothing that was not 
below a man's nature would be below his character ; the 
arts of this life would be proper advances towards the 
next ; and a very good man would be a very fine gentle- 
man. As it is now, human life is inverted, and we have 
not learned half the knowledge of this world before we 
are dropping into another. All which Steele winds up by 
saying that old Dick Reptile, who does not want humour, 
when he sees another old fellow at their club touchy at 

Steele 7^ membeus of the trumpet club. 195 

being laughed at for having fallen behind the mode, 
bawls in his ear, " Prithee, don't mind him ; tell him 
" thou art mortal." 

Their club is the Trumpet, immortalised in No. 132 ; 
and, out of the many such societies that owed their life to 
Steele's untiring invention, and that live still by his wit, 
we may select this one in especial for brief allusion. 
Its members are smokers and old story-tellers, rather 
easy than shining companions, promoting the thoughts 
tranquilly bedward, and not the less comfortable to Mr. 
Bickers taff because he finds himself the leading wit 
among them. There is old Sir Jeffrey Notch, who has 
had misfortunes in the "world, and calls every thriving 
man a pitiful upstart, by no means to the general dis- 
satisfaction ; there is Major Matchlock, who served in the 
last civil wars, and every night tells them of his having 
been knocked off his horse at the rising of the London 
Apprentices, for which he is in great esteem ; there is 
honest old Dick Reptile, who says little himself, but who 
laughs at all the jokes ; and there is the elderly Bencher 
of the Temple, next to Mr. Bickerstaff the wit of the 
company, who has by heart ten couplets of Hudihras 
which he regularly applies before leaving the club of an 
evening, and who, if any modern wit or town frolic be 
mentioned, shakes his head at the dulness of the present 
age and tells a story of Jack Ogle. As for Mr. Bickerstaff 
himself, he is esteemed among them because they see he . 
is something respected by others ; but, though they con- 
cede to him a great deal of learning, they credit him 
mth small knowledge of the world, " insomuch that the 
" Major sometimes, in the height of his mihtary pride, 
" calls me the philosopher ; and Sir Jeffrey, no longer 
" ago than last night, upon a dispute what day of the 
" month it was then in Holland, pulled his pipe out of 
" his mouth, and cried, * What does the Scholar say to 

Supplementary to the sketch of these social companions 
is the paper (208) in which Steele, with as intimate 
knowledge of nature as of the world, describes the class 
of easy friends : men with no shining quahties, but in a 
certain degree above great imperfections ; who never 
contradict us ; who gain upon us, not by a fulsome way 


196 ORIGINAL OF BEAU TiBBs. \_Sir Richavd 

of commending in broad terms, but by liking whatever 
we propose to utter ; wbo at the same time are ready to 
beg our pardons and gainsay us, if we chance to speak ill 
of ourselves. *' We gentlemen of small fortunes,'' con- 
tinues Steele with amusing candour, " are extremely 
" necessitous in this particular. I have indeed one who 
" smokes with me often ; but his parts are so low, that all 
" the incense he does me is to fill his pipe with me, and 
*' to be out at just as many whiffs as I take. This is all 
" the praise or assent that he is capable of ; yet there are 
" more hours when I would rather be in his company, 
" than in that of the brightest man I know." Which of 
us will take upon him to say that he has not had some 
such experience ? 

But perhaps the most consummately drawn of all his 
characters is introduced in the essay, No. 127, in which 
he discourses of, and illustrates in its humbler varieties, 
that *' affection of the mind called pride " which appears 
in such a multitude of disguises, every one feeling it in 
himself, yet wondering to see it in his neighbours. Pur- 
suing it to its detection and exposure under the semblance 
of quite contrary habits and dispositions, he introduces, 
as the most subtle example of it he had ever known, a 
person for whom he had a great respect, as being an old 
courtier and a friend of his in his youth. And then we 
have a portrait of that kind which, though produced by 
a few apparently careless touches, never fades, never 
ceases to charm, and is a study for all succeeding times 
and painters. " The man," says Steele, "has but a bare 
" subsistence, just enough to pay his reckoning with us 
" at the Trumpet ; but, by having spent the beginning of 
" his life in the hearing of great men and persons of 
'* power, he is always promising to do good offices and to 
" introduce every man he converses with into the world. 
" He will desire one of ten times his substance to let him 
" see him sometimes, and hints to him that he does not 
" forget him. He answers to matters of no consequence 
" with great circumspection ; but, however, maintains a 
" general civility in his words and actions, and an inso- 
" lent benevolence to all whom he has to do with. This 
" he practises with a grave tone and air ; and though I 
" am his senior by twelve years, and richer by forty 

Sleek.l PROFESSED WAGS. 197 

" pounds per annum, lie had yesterday the impudence to 
" commend me to my face and tell me * lie should be 
" * always ready to encourage me.' In a word, he is a 
" very insignificant fellow, but exceeding gracious." If 
there is better observation or writing than this, in either 
Tatler or Spectator^ we should be very glad to become 
acquainted with it. 

Another distemper of the mind is treated of in No. 227, 
where he condemns the nil admirari as the shallowest of 
doctrines ; points out the great mistake which Milton re- 
presents the Devil making, when he can find nothing 
even in Paradise to please him ; and looks upon a man as 
afflicted with disease, when he cannot discern anything to 
be agreeable which another is master of. "^V^e are to re- 
member, Steele shrewdly says, that a man cannot have 
an idea of perfection in another which he was never sensi- 
ble of in himself; he is forced to form his conceptions of 
ideas he has not, by tbose which he has ; and who is there, 
asking an envious man what he thinks of "virtue, need 
feel surprise if he should call it design, or of good 
nature, if he should term it dullnessE^/lVith this we may 
connect the very perfect description, in No. 184, of that 
social nuisance, a professed wag ; which never in its life 
beheld a beautiful object, but sees always what it does 
see, in the most low and inconsiderable light it can be 
placed in. The wag's gaiety, Steele adds, consists in a 
certain professed ill-breeding, as if it were an excuse for 
committing a fault that a man knows he does so ; but the 
truth is, that his mind is too small for the abihty neces- 
sary to behold what is amiable and worthy of approbation, 
and this he attempts to hide by a disregard to everything 
above what he is able to appreciate. A yet earher essay, 
bearing somewhat upon the same matter, is in No. 92 : 
where, contrary to the common notion, Steele declares 
his belief that the love of praise dwells most in great and 
heroic spirits ; and that it is those who best deserve it 
who have generally the most exquisite relish of it. But 
this also induces a corresponding sensibility to reproach, 
which is the common weakness of a virtuous man ; and 
for which the only cure is, that they should fix their re- 
gard exclusively upon what is strictly true, in relation to 
their advantage as well as diminution. " For if I am 

198 LESSONS FROM LIFE. [6*/> Richavd 

" pleased with commendation wMch. I do not deserve, I 
" shall from the same temper be concerned at scandal I 
" do not deserve. But he that can think of false applause 
" with as much contempt as false detraction, will certainly 
" he prepared for all adventures, and will become all 
" occasions.'' Let us add, from an essay on impudence 
in No. 168, as one of many admirable thoughts conceived 
in the same noble spirit, that he notes it as a mean want 
of fortitude in a good man, not to be able to do a virtuous 
action with as much confidence as an impudent fellow 
does an ill one. 

For our next examples, shall we turn to the innumer- 
able little sketches of individual character by which these 
and other truths are so abundantly and pleasantly en- 
forced, are vivified, and put into action ? No unattainable 
impossible virtues, no abstract speculative vices, occupy 
the page of Steele. As promptly as his heart or know- 
ledge suggests, his imagination creates ; his fancies crowd, 
in bodily form, into life ; everything with him becomes 
actual ; and to all his airy nothings he has given lasting 
habitation and a name. 

Shall we take a lesson against over-easiness in temper 
from the crafty old cit in No. 176, who, speaking of a 
well-natured young fellow set up with a good stock in 
Lombard-street, "I will," says he, " lay no more money 
" in his hands, for he never denied me anything " ? Or 
shall we introduce Tom Spindle from No. 47, who takes 
to his bed on hearing that the French tyrant won't sign 
the treaty of peace, he having just written a most excellent 
poem on that subject ? Or, from the proof in number 173 
that by the vanity of silly fathers half the only time for 
education is lost, shall we make acquaintance with the 
Shire-lane pastrycook who has an objection to take his 
son from his learning, but is resolved, as soon as he has 
a little smattering in the Greek, to put him apprentice to 
a soap-boiler ?* Or, shall we illustrate the discredit which 

^ This paper exposes with so much in what is taught to children of the 

force an absurdity still prevalent in middle class, by devoting so much of 

education, thatitwill be worth while the time, which, to fall in with their 

to subjoin a few passages. Steele is ways and prospects in life, should be 

laughing at the ridiculous way of spent in learning the useful arts, to 

preferring the useless to the useful the over-cramming of Latin and 




tlie morals of the stage tlien strove to cast upon marriage, 
and the separate beds, the silent tables, and the solitary 
homes, which it was the sole ambition of your men of wit 
and pleasure to contribute to, by presenting, from No. 
159, the country squire who set up for a man of the town, 
and went home " in the gaiety of his heart " to beat his 

Greek, and those kind of accom- 
plishments wliich they only acquire 
to forget, or to find utterly useless 
in their after career. It arises, he 
says, " from the vanity of parents who 
' ' are wonderfully delighted with the 
" thought of breeding their children 
*' to accomplishments, which they 
*' believe nothing but want of the 
' ' same care in their own fathers 
*' prevented themselves from being 
'* masters of. Thus it is, that the 
** part of life most fit for improve- 
*' ment is generally employed in a 
*' method against the bent of na- 
** ture ; and a lad of such parts as 
" are fit for an occupation where 
" there can be no calls out of the 
' ' beaten path, is two or three years 
* ' of his time wholly taken up in 
" knowing how well Ovid's mis- 
'* tress became such a dress, how 
" such a nymph for her cruelty 
'* was changed into such an animal, 
" and how it is made generous in 
'* ^neas to put Turnus to death : 
'* gallantries that can no more come 
" within the occurrences of the lives 
" of ordinary men, than they can be 
'* relished by their imaginations. 

* * However, still the humour goes on 
*' from one generation to another ; 
" and the pastrycook here in the 
" lane, the other night, told me he 
" would not yet take away his son 
' ' from his learning, but has re- 
" solved, as soon as he had a little 
*' smattering in the Greek, to put 
" him apprentice to a soap-boiler. 

* * These wrong beginnings determine 
** our success in the world ; and 
*' when our thoughts are originally 
*' falsely biassed, their agility and 
*' force do but carry us the further 
*' out of our way, in proportion to 
" our speed. We are half way 
*• our journey, when we have got 

' into the right road. But if all 

* our days were usefully employed, 

* and we did not set out imperti- 
' nently, we should not have so 
' many grotesque professors in all 
' the arts of life ; every man would 

* be in a proper and becoming me- 

* thod of distinguishing or enter- 
' taining himself, suitably to what 
' nature designed him. As they go 
' on now, our parents do not only 

* force us upon what is against our 
' talents, but our teachers are also 
' as injudicious in what they put us 

* to learn. I have hardly ever since 
' sufi"ered so much by the charms 
' of any beauty, as I did before I 
' had a sense of passion, for not ap- 
' prehending that the smile of Lalage 
' was what pleased Horace ; and I 

* verily believe, the stripes I suf- 
' fered siboai iJigito male pertinad 
' have given me that irreconcilable 

* aversion which I shall carry to 
' my grave against coquettes." 

After that pleasant biographical 
touch, Steele goes on to characterise 
Horace with much wit and shrewd- 
ness ; and, quoting what he had heard 
a great painter say as to there being 
certain faces for certain painters as 
well as certain subjects for ceiiain 
poets, he adds, " This is as true in 
' ' the choice of studies ; and no 
" one will ever relish an author 
** thoroughly well who woiijd not 
" have been fit company for that 
*' author, had they lived at the 
' ' same time. All others are me- 
** chanics in learning, and take the 
" sentiments of writers like waiting- 
" servants who repeat what passed 
'* at their master's table, but de- 
" base every thought and expres- 
" sion for Avant of the air with 
** which they were uttered." 


wife ? Or shall we profit by the lecture, read in No. 210, 
to the very fine and very censorious lady of quality, who 
is for ever railing at the vices of the age, meaning only 
the single vice she is not guilty of herself; and whose 
cruelty to a poor girl, who, whatever imperfections may 
rest on her, is in her present behaviour modest, sensible, 
pious, and discreet, is indignantly rebuked by Mr. Bicker- 
staff ? Or shall we pursue the same subject in No. 217, 
and, concerning the same too numerous class, who, be- 
cause no one can call them one ugly name, think them- 
selves privileged to bestow all kinds of ugly epithets upon 
every body else, humbly conceive with Mr. Bickerstaff 
that such ladies have a false notion of a modest woman ; 
and dare to say that the side-boxes would supply better 
wives than many who pass upon the world and them- 
selves for modest, and whose husbands know every pain 
in life with them except jealousy ? Or shall we take a 
different lesson from Jenny Distaff's conversation with 
her brother Isaac in No. 1 04, when, being asked the help 
of his magic to make her always beautiful to her husband, 
he shows her how an inviolable fidelity, good humour, 
and complacency of temper, may outlive all the charms 
of the prettiest face, and make the decays of it invisible ? 
Or shall we observe, in No. 151, the unexpected sources 
of pride in the two sisters, one of whom holds up her 
head higher than ordinary from having on a pair of 
striped garters ; or, in No. 127, the fantastic forms of it 
in the cobbler of Ludgate-hill, who, being naturally a 
lover of respect, and considering that his circumstances 
are such that no man living will give it him, reverses the 
laws of idolatry which require the man to worship the 
image, and contrives an inferior to himself in the wooden 
figure of a beau, which, hat in one hand and in posture 
of profound deference, holds out obsequiously in the other 
what is needful to its master's occasions ? Or, from what 
is told us in No. 112 of the mischief done in the world 
from a want of occupation for idle hours, shall we see 
reason to think an able statesman out of business like a 
huge whale that will endeavour to overturn the ship, 
unless he has an empty cask to play with ; and to wish with 
Mr. Bickerstaff, for the good of the nation, that many 
famous politicians could but take pleasure in feeding 

Steele.~\ ox the wroxgs of authors. 201 

ducks ? Or, finally, shall we turn to that ponderous 
politician but small philosopher, in No. 171, who, with a 
very awful brow and a countenance full of weight, pro- 
nounces it a great misfortune " that men of letters seldom 
*' look into the bottom of things.'' 

That men of letters might always look to Steele for 
their heartiest champion, it would not have been needful 
to add, but for a proof of it in No. 101 too characteristic 
not to be mentioned. As on a former occasion we saw Addi- 
son, when the grief of his friend seemed to break his utter ^ 
ance, with a calm composure taking up his theme simply 
to moderate its pain ; so, in this paper, to which also both 
contribute, and of which the exquisite opening humour 
closes abruptly in generous indignation, we may see each, 
according to his different nature, moved by an intolerable 
wrong. Of the maltreatment of authors, in regard to 
copyright, both are speaking ; and, high above the irresist- 
ible laugh which Addison would raise against a law that 
makes only rogues and pirates prosperous, rings out the 
clear and manly claim of Steele to be allowed to speak in 
the cause of learning itself, and to lament that a liberal 
education should be the only one which a pohte nation, 
makes unprofitable, and that the only man who cannot get 
protection from his country should be he that best deserves 
it. According to the ordinary rules of computation, he 
says, the greater the adventure, the greater should be the 
profit of those who succeed : yet he implores his countrymen 
to consider, how expensive is the voyage which is under- 
taken in the search of knowledge ; how few there are who 
gather in any considerable merchandise ; how fewer still 
are those able to turn what they have so gained into profit : 
and then he asks the question, which it is the disgrace of 
two subsequent centuries to have left still imperfectly 
answered, whether it is not " hard, indeed, that the very 
" small number who are distinguished with abilities to 
" know how to vend their wares, and have the good for- 
" tune to bring them into port, should sufi'er plunder 
" by privateers under the very cannon that should protect 

Nor less characteristic of that generous nature which 
reserved its sympathies for no single class, but could enter 
familiarly into all conditions, and to which nothing could 


be foreign ttat concerned humanity, is that paper, No. 87, 
which in the present crisis of our history ^ should not be 
the least interesting to us of all the Tatlers. Those, too, 
were days of war and foreign siege ; and while a chorus 
of continual praise was going up to Marlborough and 
Eugene, Steele bethought him to single out, as not less 
worthy of celebration, the courage and feeling of the 
private soldier. He sets before us, therefore, as dropped 
by his servant in dressing him, a supposed letter from 
one Serjeant Hall to Serjeant Cabe, "in the Coldstream 
*' regiment of Foot Guards, at the Red Lettice in the 
" Butcher-row, near Temple-bar," by which he would 
show us the picture of what he calls the very bravest sort 
of men, "a man of great courage and small hopes," and would 
exemplify the dignity of human nature in all states of life. 
The letter itself is what we have lately seen, in a hundred 
forms, from the humble heroes of Alma and Inkermann ; 
it is just such an honest masterpiece, as any of those which 
have made hearts throb and eyes glisten lately ; and, that 
the good Serjeant himself might have written it, will 
sufficiently appear from what Steele proceeds pleasantly 
to say of it. " This is, said I, truly a letter, and an 
" honest representation of that cheerful heart which 
*' accompanies the poor soldier in his warfare. Is not 
*' there, in this, all the topic of submitting to our destiny 
*' as well discussed as if a greater man had been placed, 
" like Brutus in his tent at midnight, reflecting on all the 
" occurrences of past life, and saying fine things on Being 
" itself ? What Serjeant Hall knows of the matter is, that 
*' he wishes there had not been so many killed ; and he had 
" himself a very bad shot in the head ; and should recover 
*' if it pleased God. But, be that as it will, he takes care, 
*' like a man of honour as he certainly is, to let the widow 
" Stevenson know that he had seven and three-pence for 
" her, and that, if he lives, he is sure he shall go into 
" garrison at last. I doubt not but all the good company 
" at the Red Lettice drank his health with as much real 
" esteem as we do of any of our friends." More thought- 
fully Steele adds, with the warmth and wisdom of his 
generous nature : " If we consider the heap of an army, 

^ This Essay was written during the War with Russia. 

Steele.\ personal experiences. 203 

" utterly out of all prospect of rising and preferment, as 
" they certainly are, and such great things executed by 
" them, it is hard to account for the motive of their gal- 
" lantry ; but to me, who know very well this part of 
*' mankind, I take it to proceed from the same, if not 
" from a nobler impulse, than that of gentlemen and 
" officers. They have the same taste of being acceptable 
" to their friends ; and they go through the difficulties of 
" that profession by the same irresistible charm of fellow- 
" ship, and the communication of joys and sorrows, which 
" quickens the relish of pleasure, and abates the anguish 
*' of pain. Add to this, that they have the same regard 
" to fame, though they do not expect so great a share as 
" men above them hope for ; but I will engage Serjeant 
" Hall would die ten thousand deaths, rather than a word 
** should be spoken, at the Red Lettice or any part of the 
" Butcher-row, in prejudice to his courage or honesty." 

There spoke a personal experience, as well as a kind 
heart and a just philosophy. Steele knew very wtII, as 
he says, that part of mankind, for in the army he had him- 
self mixed with them. Nor will it be inappropriate to 
interpose, before we pass to our brief sketch of his actual 
career, allusion to two more papers in which actual ex- 
periences are written, and where the charm of his natural 
style is carried to exquisite perfection. 

He describes himself, in No. 263, going to call on a 
country friend at eight o'clock in the evening, and finding 
him gone to bed. Next morning he goes at eleven, and 
finds him sat down to dinner. This leads Steele to a 
whimsical description of modern hours, which he com- 
pares with the unchanging habits of other creatures. 
The lark, he observes, rises as early as he did formerly, 
and the cock begins to crow at his usual hour : whereas, 
in his own memory, the dinner has crept by degrees from 
twelve o'clock to three, so that where it will fix, nobody 
knows ; and as for supper, it is so encroached upon that 
it has been even banished from many families. Yet how 
many midnight hours will it take the libertine, or the 
woman of fashion, adequately to replace the loss of a single 
hour of morning ! " When I find myself awakened into 
" being and perceive my life renewed within me, and at 
" the same time see the whole face of nature recovered 

204 MORXiNG AND NIGHT. [Sit' RicJiard 

" out of the dark uncomfortable state in which, it lay for 
" several hours, my heart overflows with such secret sen- 
" timents of joy and gratitude as are a kind of implicit 
" praise to the great Author of nature. The mind, in 
" these early seasons of the day, is so refreshed in all 
" her faculties, and borne up with such new supplies of 
" animal spirits, that she finds herself in a state of youth ; 
" above all, when the breath of flowers entertains her, the 
^' melody of birds, the dews that hang upon the plants, 
" and all those other sweets of nature that are peculiar 
" to the morning. But, who can have this relish of being, 
" this exquisite taste of life, who does not come into the 
" world before it is in all its noise and hurry ? who loses 
" the rising of the sun, the still hours of the day ; and, 
" immediately upon his first getting up, plunges into the 
" ordinary cares or follies of the world.** 

Not to cheerfulness, however, but to sorrow, and not 
to the still hours of day, but to those of night, the last 
paper invites us, with which we close our appeal from 
Mr. Macaulay's judgment. 

It is a paper of sadness and self-examination.' Con- 
scious of having been surrendering too much time to plea- 
sure, he desires to correct the present by recollections of the 
past, to cast back his thoughts on those who had been 
dear and agreeable to him, to ponder step by step on the 
life that was gone, and to revive old places of grief in his 
memory. " When we wind up a clock that is out of order, 
" to make it go well for the future, we do not immediately 
" set the hand to the present instant, but we make it 
" strike the round of all its hours, before it can recover 
" the regularity of its time. Such, thought I, shall be 
" my method this evening ; which I dedicate to such in 
" another life, as I much delighted in when living." But 
we can only take, from this charming and most touching 
retrospect, his earliest recollection and his earliest grief. 
" The first sense of sorrow I ever knew was upon the 
" death of my father, at which time I was not quite five 
" years of age; but was rather amazed at what all the 
" house meant, than possessed with a real understanding 
" why nobody was willing to play with me. I remember 

1 TatUr, No. 181. 

Steele.^ a child's earliest guief. - 205 

" I went into the room where Ms body lay, and my 
" mother sat weeping alone by it. I haci my battledore 
" in my hand, and fell a beating the coifin, and calling 
*' Papa ; for, I know not how, I had some slight idea that 
" he was locked up there. My mother catched me in her 
" arms, and, transported beyond all patience of the silent 
^' grief she was before in, she almost smothered me in her 
" embraces, and told me in a flood of tears, * Papa could 
" * not hear me, and would play with me no more, for 
" ' they were going to put him under ground, whence he 
" ' could never come to us again.' She was a very beau- 
" tiful woman, of a noble spirit, and there was a dignity 
" in her grief amidst all the wildness of her transport 
" which, methought, struck me with an instinct of sorrow, 
" that, before I was sensible of what it was to grieve, 
" seized my very soul, and has made pity the weakness 
" of my heart ever since." And so, strengthened by love, 
if weakened by pity, began the life of Richard Steele. 

/Y His family on the father's side were English, but he 
had an Irish mother ; and in Dublin, where his father 
held the office of secretary to the first Duke of Ormond, 
he was born in 1675. The Duke was one of the governors 
of Charter-house ; and there Richard Steele was placed, 
as soon as he could be entered after his father's death. 
He remained till he was seventeen ; and from his ready 
scholarship of after years, as well as from the kind ex- 
pressions long interchanged between him and its old head- 
master. Dr. Ellis, he may be assumed to have passed 
fairly through the school. .Of his positive acquisitions 
only one is known, but it is by far the most important. 
Not the glory of his having carried off every prize and 
exhibition attainable, if such had been his, would have 
interested us half so much as the fact, that here began 
his friendship with Joseph Addison./^' 

The son of the Dean of Lichfield was three years older 
than Steele, who was a lad of only twelve, when, at the 
age of fifteen, Addison went up to Oxford. Three years 
at that age are the measure of submission or authority ; 
and, through life, Steele never lost the habit of looking up 


at his friend, rile went himself to Oxford in 1692, at 
the head of that year's post-masters for Merton ; hut his 
intercourse with the scholar of Magdalen had not ceased 
in the interval. Pleasant traces are left for us which 
connect the little fatherless lad with visitings to Addison's 
father, who loved him^-^^ Like one of his own children he 
loved me ! exclaimed 'Steele, towards the close of his life. 
Those children, too, apart from his famous schoolfellow, 
he thanks for their affection to him ; and among the pos- 
sessions of his youth retained until death, was a letter in 
the handwriting of the good old Dean, giving "his 
" blessing on the friendship between his son and me." 
The little black-eyed dusky-faced lad had made himself 
popular at the Lichfield deanery ; and he brought away 
from it, we will not doubt, that first ineffaceable impression 
which remained alike through the^weakness and the 
strength of his future years, tha^s^ligion was a part 
of goodness, and that cheerfulness should be inseparable 
from piet^^^ 

Entered of Merton in 1692, his college career is soon 
told. Having passed three years in a study of which he 
showed afterwards good use, and in a companionship 
which confirmed not the least memorable of friendships, 
he left Oxford with the love of " the whole society," ' but 
without a degree, after writing a comedy which was per- 
haps as strong a recommendation to the one as a disquali- 
fication for the other. He burnt that comedy, however, 
on a friend telling him it was not worth keeping. Quick, 
inventive, and ardent ; easy and sweet in temper, social 
and communicative in tastes ; with eager impulses and 
warm affections, but yet forming his opinions for himself, 
and giving them shape and efiicacy without regard to con- 
sequences ; the Dick Steele of Merton, was the same Mr. 
Steele and Sir Richard of Hampton and Bloomsbury, to 
whose maturer philosophy many charming illustrations 
have attracted us in the foregoing pages. Having desired 
his friend's advice about his comedy, he had too much 
sincerity and too little pride not at once to act upon it ; 
but he was also too impatient not to ask himself after- 
wards, If he was to fail as a wit and a writer, in what 

* BiograpTiia Britannica, vi. 3823. 

Steele^ ' in the horse guards. 207 

other direction lay tlie chances of success ? -Already a 
hot politician, and entering with all his heart into the 
struggle of which the greatest champion now sat on the 
English throne, might he not at any rate, on his hero's 
behalf, throw a sword if not a pen into the scale ? He 
would be a soldie^ He would, as he says, plant himself 
behind King William the Third against Louis the Four- 
teenth. But here he was met by determined opposition ; 
and a rich relative of his mother, who had named him heir 
to a large estate in Wexford, threatened to disinherit him 
if he took that course. He took it, and was disinherited ; 
giving the express reason, many years later, that, when 
he so cocked his hat, put on a broad sword, jack -boots, 
and shoulder-belt, and mounted a war-horse, under the 
unhappy Duke of Ormond's command, he teas not ac- 
quainted with his own parts, and did not know, what he 
had since discovered, that he could handle a pen more 
effectively than a sword.' ^^^hat do we see, in all this, 
but an earlier form of the philosophy of the TatJer, that 
you must he the thing you would seem to be, and in some 
form manage to do what you think it right should be 

Baffled in his hope to obtain a commission, Steele 
entered the army as a private in the Horse Guards, pre- 
ferring, as he characteristically expresses it, the state of 
his mind to that of his fortune. Soon, however, the 
qualities which made him the delight of his comrades, 
obtained him a cornetcy in the regiment ; and not long 
after, through the interest of its colonel. Lord Cutts, to 
whom he had acted as private secretary, he got a company 
in Lord Lucas's fusiliers, and became Captain Steele. 
Then began the experiences and temptations he has him- 
self described. He found it, he says, a way of life exposed 
to much irregularity ; and, being thoroughly convinced of 
many things, of which he often repented and which he 
more often repeated, he writ, for lus own private use, a 
little book called the Christian Hero? Nevertheless, this 
little book is not exactly what the good Dr. Drake, and 
many before him and since, appear to have thought it. 
You would suppose, from what is said of it, that it was 

1 The Theatre^ No. xi. 2 Apology, p. 296. 



" a valuable little manual " of religious exercises for use 
in " the intervals snatclied from the orgies of voluptuous- 
" ness." But it is by no means this, nor anything else 
that would amount to such sheer fooling and face-making. 
Steele had too humble and pious a faith in religion to 
expose it to ridicule from the unscrupulous companions 
he lived with. How large and longing is the mind of 
man, compared with the shortness of his life and the 
frailty of his desires, he knew ; and, that his own thoughts 
were better than his practice, it was no discredit to him 
also to know. But it was not to set up the one either as 
a cloak or a contrast to the other, that he wrote the Chris- 
tian Hero. It was not a book of either texts or prayers. 
There was nothing in it that a man conscious of all infir- 
mities might not write ; but there was also that in it 
which must have made its writer more conscious of his 
powers than he had been till then, and which influenced 
his future perhaps more than any one has supposed.' 

1 Perhaps Steele has no where so 

beautifully expressed the spirit in 

which he wrote this book, than by 

that fine paper (No. 27) of the 

Spectator, in which he says : * ' There 

' is scarce a thinking man in the 

' world, who is involved in the 

' business of it, but lives under a 

* secret impatience of the hurry 
' and fatigue he suffers, and has 

* formed a resolution to fix himself, 

* one time or another, in such a 
' state as is suitable to the end of 
' his being. You hear men every 
' day in conversation profess that 
' all the honour, power, and riches 

* which they propose to themselves, 
' cannot give satisfaction enough to 
' reward them for half the anxiety 
' they undergo in the pursuit or 

* possession of them. While men 
' are in this temper (which hap- 

* pens very frequently), how in- 
' consistent are they with them- 

* selves ! They are wearied with 
' the toil they bear, but cannot 
' find in their hearts to relinquish 

* it ; retirement is what they want, 
' but they cannot betake them- 
' selves to it ; while they pant after 

shade and covert, they still affect 
to appear in the most glittering 
scenes of life : but sure this is 
only just as reasonable, as if a 
man should call for more lights 
when he has a mind to go to sleep . 
*' Since, then, it is certain that 
our own hearts deceive us in 
the love of the world, and that 
we cannot command ourselves 
enough to resign though we every 
day wish ourselves disengaged 
from its allurements, let us not 
stand upon a formal taking of 
leave, but wean ourselves from 
these, while we are in the midst 
of them. 

"It is certainly the general in- 
tention of the greater part of 
mankind to accomplish this work, 
and live according to their own 
approbation, as soon as they pos- 
sibly can ; but since the duration 
of life is so uncertain, and that 
this has been a common topic of 
discourse ever since there was 
such a thing as life itself, how is 
it possible that we should defer a 
moment the beginning to live ac- 
coiduig to the rules of reason ? 

Steele.'] belief and uxbelief. 209 

P^ At the outset of it lie tells you that men of business, 
^ whatever they may think, have not nearly so much to do 
with the government of the world as men of wit ; but that 
the men of wit of that age had made a grave mistake in 
disregarding religion and decency. He attributes it to 
classical associations, that, being scholars, they are so 
much more apt to resort to Heathen than to Christian 
examples ; and to correct this error he proposes to show, 
by a series of instances, how inadequate to all the great 
needs of life is the Heathen, and how sufficient the Chris- 
tian moraHty. Anticipating and answering Gibbon, he 
looks upon it as a special design of Providence that the 
time when the world received the best news it evej* heard, 
was also that wherein the warriors and philosophers whose 
virtues are most pompously arrayed in story should h^ive 
been performing, or just have finished, their parts, -^e 
then introduces, with elaborate portraiture of their great- 
ness, Cato, the younger Brutus, and other characters of 
antiquity ; that he may also display them, in their mo- 
ments of highest necessity, deprived of their courage, and 
deserted by their gods. By way of contrast he next ex- 
hibits, " from a certain neglected Book, which is called, 
" and from its excellence above all other books deservedly 
" called. The Scripture," what the Christian system is ; 
handling it with no thfeological pretension, but as the 
common inheritance vouchsafed to us all. He finds in 
the Sermon on the Mount " the whole heart of man dis- 
" covered by Him that made it, and all our secret im- 

*' The man of business has ever *' wherever we are, till they are 

* ' some one point to carry, and then ' ' conquered ; and we can never 

" he tells himself he'll bid adieu to "live to our satisfaction in the 

" all the vanity of ambition; the " deepest retirement, unless we are 

" man of pleasure resolves to take " capable of so living in some mea- 

' ' his leave at last, and part civilly ' ' sure amidst the noise and business 

'* with his mistress. But the am- " of the world.'' 
" bitious man is entangled every And so, when that problem is 

" moment in a fresh pursuit, and solved as the kindly philosopher 

' ' the lover sees new charms in the would have solved it, we shall have 

'* object he fancied he could aban- men at last living really in the day 

' ' don. It is, therefore, a fantas- that is present, and not putting life 

' * tical way of thinking, when we continually off until to-morrow ; or 

" promise ourselves an alteration in to that some other time, which is so 

" our conduct from change of place, little likely, for any of us, ever to 

' ' and difference of circumstances. arrive. 
*' The same passions will attend us 


" pulses to ill, and false appearances of good, exposed and 
" detected ; " he shows through what storms of want and 
misery it had been , able to bear unscathed the early 
martyrs and apostl^ and, in demonstration of the world's 
present inattention to its teaching, he tells them that, 
after all they can say of a man, let them but conclude that 
he is rich, and they have made him friends, nor have 
they utterly overthrown him till they have said he is poor. 
In other words, a sole consideration to prosperity had 
taken, in their imaginations, the place of Christianity ; 
and, what is there that is not lost, pursues kind-hearted 
Steele, in that which is thus displaced? " For Chris- 
" tianity has that in it which makes men pity, not scorn, 
" the wicked ; and, by a beautiful kind of ignorance of 
" themselves, think those wretches their equals." It 
aggravates all the benefits and good offices of life by 
making them seem fraternal, and its generosity is an en- 
larged self-love. The Christian so feels the Avants of the 
miserable, that it sweetens the pain of the obliged ; he 
gives with an air that has neither oppression nor superio- 
rity in it ; " and is always a benefactor with the mien of 
" a receiver." 

In an expression already quoted from the Tatter^ we 
have seen a paraphrase of these last few words ; but indeed 
Mr. Bickerstaff's practical and gentle philosophy, not less 
than his language, is anticipated by Captain Steele. The 
sj^mtfl^o^^Jthe same. The leading purpose in both 
'is feneariy sympathy with humanity : a belief, as both 
.express it, that "it is not possible for a human heart to 
" be averse to anything that is human ;" a desire to link 
the highest associations to the commonest things ; a faith 
in the compatibility of mirth with virtue ; the wish to 
smooth life's road by the least acts of benevolence as well 
as by the greatest ; and the lesson so to keep our under- 
standings balanced, that things shall appear to us " great 
" or little as they are in nature, notas they are gilded or 
" suUied by accident and fortune. j^^iThe thoughts and 
expressions, as may be seen in these quoted, are fre- 
quently the same ; each has the antithetical turns and 
verbal contrasts, " the proud submission, the dignified 
" obedience," which is a peculiarity of Steele's manner ; 
in both, we have the author aiming far less to be author 

Steele.'] town and the wits. 211 

than to be companion ; and there is even a passage in 
this Christian Hero which brings rustling about us the 
hoops and petticoats of Mr. Bickerstaff's Chloes and 
Clarissas. He talks of the coarseness and folly, the 
alternate rapture and contempt, with which women are 
treated by the wits ; he desires to see the love they in- 
spire taken out of that false disguise, and put in its own 
gay and becoming dress of innocence ; and he tells us that 
" in their tender frame there is native simplicity, ground- 
" less fear, and little unaccountable contradictions, upon 
" which there might be built expostulations to divert a 
" good and intelligent young woman, as well as the ful- 
" some raptures, guilty impressions, senseless deifications, 
" and pretended deaths, that are every day offered her." 
Captain Steele dedicates his little book to Lord Cutts ; 
dates it from the Tower Guard ; and winds it up with a 
parallel between the French and the English king, not 
unbecoming a Christian soldier. But surely, as we read 
it on to its close, the cocked hat, the shoulder-belt, the 
jack-boots disappear ; and we have before us, in gown 
and slippers, the Editor of the Tatler. Exit the soldier, 
and enter the wit. 

The publication of the Christian Hero, in 1701, is cer- 
tainly the point of transition. He says himself that after 
it he was not thought so good a companion, and that he 
found it necessary to enliven his character by another 
kind of writing. The truth is that he had discovered, at 
last, what ^ he best could do ; and where in future he 
was to mount guard, was not at the Tower, or under 
command of my Lord Cutts, but at the St. James's coffee- 
house, or \Yiirs, in waiting on Mr. Congreve. The 
author of the Old Bachelor and Love for Love now sat 
in the chair just vacated by Dryden ; and appears to 
have shown unusual kindness to his new and promising 
recruit. In a letter of this date, he talks of Dick Steele 
with an agreeable air of cordiality ; and such was then 
Mr. Congreve's distinction, that his mere notice was no 
trifling feather in the cap of an ex-captain of Fusileers. 
" I hope I may have leave to indulge my vanity," 
says Steele, "by telling all the world that Mr. Con- 
" greve is my friend." The Muses Mercunj not only 
told the world the same thing, but published verses 

p 2 

5^12 W^^^ COMEDY PLAYED. \_Sir Ruhard 

of the new Whig wit, and threw out hints of a forth- 
coming comedy. 

The Funeral, or Grief a la Mode, Steele's first dramatic 
production, was played at Drury Lane in 1702. Yery 
sprightly and pleasant throughout, it was full of telling 
hits at lawyers and undertakers ; and, with a great many 
laughable incidents, and no laugh raised at the expense of 
virtue or decency, it had one character (the widow on 
whom the artifice of her husband's supposed death is 
played off) which is a masterpiece of comedy. Guards- 
men and Fusileers mustered strong on the first night ; in 
the prologue, " a fellow soldier " made appeal to their 
soldierly S3rmpathies ; Gibber, Wilks, Norris, and Mrs. 
Oldfield were in the cast ; and the success was complete. 
One can imagine the enjoyment of the scene where the 
undertaker reviews his regiment of mourners, and singles 
out for indignant remonstrance one provokingly hale, 
well -looking mute. " You ungrateful scoundrel, did not 
" I pity you, take you out of a great man's ser\ice, and 
" show you the pleasure of receiving wages ? Did not I 
" give you ten, then fifteen, now twenty shillings a week, 
'* to be sorrowful. A^id the more I give yoii, I think the 
" gladder you are /" But this was a touch that should 
have had for its audience a company of Addisons rather 
than of gay Fusileers and Guardsmen. Sydney Smith, 
indeed, who delighted in it, used to think it Addison's ; 
but certainly Steele's first comedy had no insertion from 
that masterly hand. When it was written Addison was 
in Italy, when it was acted he was in Geneva ; and he 
did not return to England, after an absence of more 
than four years, till towards the close of the following 

He found his friend not only established among the 
wits, but enrolled in that most select body of their number 
who drank Whig toasts at the Kit-Katt, with the prudent 
Mr. Tonson at one end of the table and the proud Duke 
of Somerset at the other. For, the comedy had brought 
him repute in high Whig quarters, and even the notice of 
the King. He was justly proud of this. It was much to 
say, from experience, that nothing could make the town so 
fond of a man as a successful play ; but more to have it 
to remember that " his name to be provided for, was in 


NOCTES CCENtEQUE deorum. 213 

" the la§t table-book ever worn by tbe glorious and 
" immortal William the Third." ' Yes, the last. Be- 
tween the acting of his comedy and the arrival of his 
friend, their great sovereign had ceased to be mortal. 
Somewhat sad were Whig prospects, therefore, when 
Addison again grasped Steele by the hand; but the 
Kit-Katt opened its doors eagerly to the new comer, the 
first place at Will's and the St. James's was conceded to 
him, and the Nodes Ccenceque Deorum began. Many 
have described and glorified them; and Steele coupled 
them in later years mth a yet rarer felicity, when he 
had to tell of "nights spent with him apart from all 
" the world," in the freedom and intimacy of their old 
school days of Charter-house, and their College walks by 
the banks of the Cherwell. There is no such thing as 
real conversation, Addison used to say, but between two 
persons; and after nights so passed, Steele could only 
think of his friend as combining in himself all the wit and 
nature of Terence and Catullus, heightened with a humour 
more exquisite and delightful than either possessed, or 
than was ever the property of any other man. 

Of course Captain Steele (for so, according to Mr, 
Dennis, he continued to be called at the theatres)^ had by 

1 Apology, p. 227. territories, and (prefacing thus his 

2 How popular Steele was at the recommendation of the young poet, 
theatres, and himself how fond of Leonard Welsted, to instruct whom 
them, needs hardly to be said. in the art of comedy he has asked 
Some of his finest pieces of criti- Gibber and Wilks to act the Care- 
cism are on Betterton and East- less Husband) he goes on to give a 
court. He describes himself, as Mr. specimen of his most nicely discri- 
Bickei'staff, carrying his little cousin minative criticism. A brief passage 
to see the Hamlet of the great tra- will sufiice : "It is," he says, " a 
gedian, and tells us he shalUalways '' very good office one man does 
love the little chap for his partiality " another, when he tells him the 
in all that concerned the fortune of ' ' manner of his being pleased ; and 
Hamlet. "This," he continues, '* I have often thought that a com- 
" is entering youth into the affec- " ment upon the capacities of the 
" tions and passions of manhood " players would very much improve 
" beforehand, and, as it were, ante- " the delight that way, and impart 
" dating the effects we hope from a '• it to those who otherwise have no 
" long and liberal education." In "sense of it. The first of the 
the same spirit is that delightful '' present stage are Wilks and 
paper (182) in which, after speaking "Gibber, perfect actors in their 
of Eugenie's gallery of fine pictures, "different kinds. Wilks has a 
and the grand woods and fields of " singular talent in representing 
Crassus, he says, that the players " the graces of nature ; Gibber the 
are his pictures and the scenes his ' * deformity in the affectation of 

^14 THE TENDER HUSBAJ^D. \_Sir Richard 

this time begun another comedy, and from his friend he 
received for it not a few of what he generously said after- 
wards were its most applauded strokes. Nor is it difficult, 
we think, to trace Addison's hand in the Tender Husband. 
There is a country squire and justice of the quorum in 
it, perhaps the very first the stage had in those days 
brought from his native fields for any purpose more inno- 
cent than to have horns clapped on his head ; and, in the 
scenes with him and his lumpish nephew, there is a height- 
ened humour we are disposed to give to Addison. But 
Steele's rich invention, and careless graces, are also very 
manifest throughout ; and in the dialogues of the romance- 
stricken niece and her lover, from which Sheridan bor- 
rowed, and in that of the niece and her bumpkin of a 
cousin, to which even Goldsmith was somewhat indebted, 
we have pure and genuine comedy. The mistake of the 
piece, as of its predecessor, is the occasional disposition to 
reform morals rather than to paint manners ; for the rich 
vein which the Tatler worked to such inimitable uses, 
yielded but scantily to the working of the stage. But the 
Tender Sushand, admirably acted by Wilks, Norris, and 
Eastcourt, and above all by Mrs. Oldfield in that love-lorn 
Parthenissa, Biddy Tipkin, well deserved its success. 
Before its production there had arrived the glorious news 

" them. Were I a writer of plays, that the same justice should be done 

'* I should never employ either of to them. "Mr, William Bullock," 

'* them in parts which had not their he says, "and Mr. William Pen- 

" bent this way. This is seen in " kethman are of the same age, 

' ' the inimitable strain and run of ' * profession, and sex. They both 

** good humour which is kept up in ** distinguish themselves in a very 

** the character of Wildair, and in the " particular manner under the dis- 

'* nice and delicate abuse of under- " ciplyie of the crab-tree, with this 

•' standing in that of Sir Novelty. " only difference, that Mr. Bullock 

** Gibber, in another light, hits ** has the more agreeable squall, 

*' exquisitely the flat civility of an '* and Mr. Penkethman the more 

"affected gentleman -usher, and " graceful shrug. Penkethman de- 

" Wilks the easy frankness of a " vours a cold chick with great 

"gentleman." Nothing could be "applause; Bullock's talent chiefly 

better said than that. Nor must I " lies in asparagus. Penkethman 

omit what he afterwards wrote " is very dexterous at conveying 

(No. 188) by way of a parody on " himself under a table ; Bullock is 

this criticism, but with infinite good " no less active at jumping over a 

humour in the satire, in answer to " stick. Mr. Penkethman has a 

a demand from two walking gentle- " great deal of money ; but Mr. 

men of the stage, Mr. William Bui- " Bullock is the taller man." 
lock, and Mr. William Penkethman, 

Steele?^ -svhig prospects brightening. 215 

of Blenheim, and Steele flung in some 'WL.iggish. and 
patriotic touches. Addison wrote the prologue, and to 
Addison the piece was dedicated : the author taking that 
means of declaring pubKcly to the world that he looked 
upon this intimacy as the most valuable enjoyment of his 
life, and hoping also to make the Town no ill compliment 
for their kind acceptance of his comedy by acknowledging, 
that this had so far raised his own opinion of it as to make 
him think it no improper memorial of an inviolable friend- 
ship. To Addison he addressed at the same time a more 
private \\dsh, which lay very near his heart. " I told him 
*' there was nothing I so ardently wished, as that we 
" might sometime or other publish a work written by us 
" both, which should bear the name of The Monument, in 
" memory of our friendship." ^ Such a work, imder a live- 
lier title, not planned with that view by either friend, was 
soon to perpetuate, and inseparably to connect, the names 

/^^eauAvhile, after two or three years of adversity and 
depression, the Whig cause had again brightened^ The 
great foreign policy of William coerced, as with a spell, 
the purposes of his successors ; and again, with the victory 
of Blenheim, Whig principles obtained the mastery. But, 
in the interval of gloomy and variable weather, many 
changes had by degrees become also perceptible in the 
places of resort which the wits made famous. The coffee- 
house had ceased to be any longer such neutral ground as 
it had formerly been. Men are more jealous of their 
opinions when their opinions are less prosperous, more 
eager themselves to chamgion them, and less tolerant of 
others who oppose them.'''ljiterature itself took insensibly 
a stronger tone, and a higher position, in those stormy and 
threatening days. It was the only direct communication 
between the men who governed the State, and the people 
from whom, if the Act of Settlement was to have any 
authority, they received their sole commission to govern '-^ 
Halifax, Somers, Sunderland, Co^vper, indeed all the lead- 
ing Whig lords, knew this thoroughly ; and if they had 
acted on it less partially, they would have kept their 
ground better than they did. "When Mr. Mackey, in his 

1 The Spectator, No. 555. 

216 WITS AT THE ST. JAMEs's. [_Sir Richard 

Memoirs of his Secret Services, says of Halifax that lie 
was a great encourager of learning and learned men, 
Swift grimly writes in the margin that " his encourage- 
" ments were only good words and dinners." But that at 
any rate was something. At such a time as the present 
it was much. When Blenheim made a " new" Whig of 
the Tory Lord Treasurer, a good word from Halifax got 
Addison a commissionership of two hundred a year from 
him ; and, while the restoration of the old Whigs was yet 
doubtful, the dinners of Halifax at least kept their par- 
tisans together, and Prior himself was rendered not less 
steady than even Ambrose Philips or Steele. 

But, as we have said, prospects in that direction were 
brightening at last. Events were accomplishing, of them- 
selves, what the actors in them had not the power to 
prevent ; and, through whatever remaining obstacle or 
hindrance, for the present the plain result had become too 
imminent to be much longer delayed by any possible com- 
bination of clergy and country gentlemen. What was done 
with such a hope, only hastened the catastrophe. Oddly 
enough, however, it happened just at this time that the 
only consolation of which the circumstances were capable, 
was suggested by a member of the one disheartened class 
to a member of the other. It was at the St. James's 
coffee-house, now the great Whig resort, but into 
which there had stumbled one day, when all the lead- 
ing wits were present, a *' gentleman in boots, just 
" come out of the country." Already also, on that day, 
a clergyman of remarkable appearance had been observed 
in the room. Of stalwart figure, mth great sternness 
and not much refinement of face, but with the most 
wonderful blue eyes looking out from under black and 
heavy brows, he had been walking half an hour or so 
incessantly to and fro across the floor without speaking 
to anybody ; when at last, on the entrance of the booted 
squire, up went the walking priest to him, and asked this 
question aloud : " Pray, Sir, do you remember any good 
" weather in the world ? " The country gentleman was 
of course unprepared for anything in the way of allegory, 
and stammered out an answer which did little credit to 
him as an agriculturist. "Yes, Sir, I thank God I 
" remember a great deal of good weather in my time." 

Steele.'] doctor joxathan swift. 217 

To which, the querist rejoined, " That is more than I can 
" say. I never remember any weather that was not too 
" hot or too cold, too wet or too dry; but, however God 
" Almighty contrives it, at the end of the year 'tis all 
" very well " — took up his hat, and without another word 
to anybody walked out of the room. 

That was the first introduction of Steele and Addison 
to the Reverend Jonathan Smft. Not long after, how- 
ever, they knew in him not only " the mad parson," but 
the writer of one of the most effective of Whig pamphlets, 
the author of the most masterly prose satire published 
since Rabelais, the foremost intellect, and one of the first 
wits of the day. Nor was he, to them, the least delightful 
of associates. Charles Fox had a theory about Swift, 
that he could not have written the heaps of nonsense he 
entertained his friends with, unless he had been at heart 
a good-natured man. All at any rate were agreed as to 
his wonderful and unequalled fascination in society, at such 
times as he pleased to exert it. When Addison, shortly 
after this date, gave him his book of travels, he wrote on its 
fly-leaf that it was given to the most agreeable companion, 
the truest friend, and the greatest genius of the age. 
Happily none of them yet knew what his master-passion 
was, of what little value he counted friendships or alliances 
that might thwart it, with what secret purpose he sought 
the power to be derived from literary distinction, to what 
uses he would have turned his influence over those Whig 
wits at the St. James's coffee-house, and what a dreary and 
unsatisfactory past he was there himself to redeem. As 
yet, they saw him only in his amiable aspect ; somewhat 
perhaps condescending to their mirth, but sharing in it 
nevertheless, and, when he pleased, making it run over 
with abundance. Indeed he cared so little for what was 
matter of real moment to them, that he was able often to 
pass for a good-natured man in points where they failed 
to show good nature. " I have great credit with him," he 
wrote of an indifferent verse- writer to Ambrose Philips, 
when a foreign employment had for a time carried off that 
staunch Whig poet, "because I can listen when he reads, 
" which neither you nor the Addisons nor Steeles ever 
" can." It is the same letter in which he tells Ambrose 
that the " triumvirate " of Addison, Steele, and himself, 


come together as seldom as the sun, moon, and earth ; 
though he often sees each of them, and each of them as 
often him and each other ; hut, when he is of their 
number, justice is done to Ambrose as he would desire. 

No doubt, when the triumvirate were thus together, 
Swift could do justice also, in his dry way, to the pretty 
little opera of Rosamund which Mr. Addison had per- 
mitted to be represented, and which, though it brought 
him no repute, added another member to the circle who 
surrounded him (the "senate,^' as Pope afterwards called 
them,) in the person of that young Mr. Tickell of Oxford 
• who addressed to him a poem in admiration of it. One 
may imagine, too, that while Swift bore with much equa- 
nimity Mr. Addison's failure on that occasion, he might 
be even disposed to make merry at a certain contempo- 
raneous failure of the other member of the triumvirate, 
who, having proposed to give a dramatic form to Jeremy 
Collier's Short Vieiv, and to introduce upon the stage 
itself that slashing divine's uncompromising strictures of 
it, produced his Lying Lover ; and had the honour to 
inform the House of Commons some years later, that he 
alone, of all English dramatists, had written a comedy 
wbich was damned for its piety. This surprising incident 
closed for the present Captain Steele's dramatic career ; 
and when the Muse's Mercury next introduced his name 
to its readers, it was to say that, as for comedies, there 
was no great expectation of anything of that kind since 
Mr. Farquhar's death, for " the two gentlemen who would 
" probably always succeed in the comic vein, Mr. Con- 
" greve and Captain Steele, have affairs of much greater 
" importance at present to take up their time and 
'' thoughts." 

Soon after his pious failure, in truth, he had received 
from the gift of Harley what he calls the lowest office in 
the State, that of Gazetteer, and with it the post of Gen- 
tleman-Usher in the household of Prince George. It 
was not long before Harley's own resignation, that he had 
to thank him for this service ; and it was at the very time 
when the old Whigs were to all appearance again firmly 
established, and Addison was Under-Secretary of State, 
that heavings of no distant change became again percep- 
tible. Writers themselves were beginning to sway from 

Steele.~\ first and second marriage. 219 

side to side, as preferments fell thick. There was Eowe 
coming over from the Tories, and there was Prior going 
over from the Whigs ; ' and there was the *' mad parson " 
of the St. James's coffee-house talking his Tract on Civil 
Discords to alarm the Tories, or his Tale of a Tub to 
alarm the Whigs, according as either side for the time 
inclined. And in the midst "of these portents, as we have 
said, Mr. Harley quitted office ; and the Whig phalanx 
little dreamed what he went to plan and meditate in his 
compelled retirement. 

But, in other than political ways, the current of life was 
moving on with Steele, and matters of private as well as 
pubHc concern had to do with his secession from the 
theatre. Some little time before this, he had received a 
moderate fortune in West India property with his first 
wife, the sister of a planter in Barbados ; and he had 
been left a widower not many months after the marriage. 
Just before Harley left the ministry, he married again ; 
and, of every letter or note he addressed to his second 
wife during the twelve years of their union, that lady 
proved herself so curiously thrifty, whether for her own 
comfort in often reading his words or for his plague in 
often repeating them, that the public curiosity was gra- 
tified at the commencement of the century by the publi- 
cation of upwards of four hundred such compositions: 
and thus the most private thoughts, the most familiar 
and unguarded expressions, weaknesses which the best 
men pass their lives in concealing, self-reproaches that 
only arise to the most generous natures, everything, in 
short, that Eichard Steele uttered in the confidence of an 
intimacy the most sacred, and which repeatedly he had 
begged "might be shown to no one living," became the 
property of all the world. It will be seen, as we proceed, 

1 In the Hanmer Correspon- "honour. They say when yon and 

dence, published not many years ' ' I had lookt over this piece for six 

ago, we have a significant letter " months, the man could write 

from Prior to Hanmer dated in 1707, " verse ; but when we had forsaken 

and referring to another accession " him, and he went over to St 

the Whigs had lately had in the " and Addison, he could not write 
person of Mr. Edmund Smith, who " prose: you see, Sir, how danger- 
dedicated his play to Lord Halifax. " ous it is to be well with you ; a 
^^ Phcedra is a prostitute, and ** man is no longer father of his own 
" Smith's dedication is nonsense. " writings, if they are good.'* 
" People do me a great deal of 

220 MRS. MOLLY scrnLOCK [Sir Richard 

how lie stands a test such as never was applied, within 
our knowledge, to any other man on earth. 

*' Happy is the wooing that is not long a-doing,'' and 
Steele's does not seem to have been prolonged beyond a 
month. But his letters are such masterpieces of ardour 
and respect, of tender passion and honest feeling, of good 
sense and earnestness as well as of playful sweetness, 
that the lady may fairly be forgiven for having so soon 
surrendered. Instead of saying he shall die for her, he 
protests he shall be glad to lead his Hfe with her ; and 
on those terms she accepts, to use tbe phrase she after- 
wards applied to him, *' as agreeable and pleasant a man 
*' as any in England.^' Once accepted, his letters are in- 
cessant. He writes to her every hour, as he thinks of her 
every moment, of the day. He cannot read his books, he 
cannot see his friends, for thinking of her. AYhile Addi- 
son and he are together at Chelsea, he steals a moment, 
while his friend is in the next room, to tell the charmer 
of his soul that he is only and passionately hers. In 
town, he seems to have shared Addison's lodgings at this 
time ; for, not many weeks afterwards, he tells her ** Mr. 
" Addison does not remove till to-morrow, and therefore 
'' I cannot think of moving my goods out of his lodgings." 
Thus early, she seems to have contracted that habit of call- 
ing Addison her " rival, '* which he often charges on her 
in subsequent years ; and who will doubt that the Under- 
Secretary, rigid moralist as he was, formed part of the 
" very good company," who not many days before the 
marriage drank Mrs. Mary Scurlock's health (such was 
her name : she was the daughter and sole heiress of 
Jonathan Scurlock, Esq. of the county of Carmarthen) 
by the title of the woman Dick Steele loves best, to an extent 
it would hardly be decorous now to mention ? The last 
few days before the wedding are the least tolerable of all. 
If he calls at a friend's house, he must borrow the means 
of writing to her. If he is at a coffee-house, the waiter is 
despatched to her. If a minister at his office asks him 
what news from Lisbon, he answers she is exquisitely 
handsome. If Mr. Elliott desires at the St. James's to 
know when he has been last at Hampton-court, he replies 
it will be Tuesday come se'ennight. For, the happy day 
was fixed at last ; and on " Tuesday come se'ennight," 

Steele.^ mrs. dick Steele. 221 

the 9th of September, 1707, the adorable Molly Scurlock 
became Mrs. Richard Steele. 

It does not fall within our purpose to dwell in much 
detail upon so large a subject as this lady's merits and 
defects, but some circumstances attended the marriage of a 
nature to make some of its early results less surprising. 
In her fortune of 400^ a-year her mother had a life- 
interest, and she does not seem to have regarded favour- 
ably any of the plans the newly-married couple proposed. 
On the other hand, Steele had certainly over-estimated his 
own income ; and a failure in his Barbados estate made 
matters worse in this respect. Eager meanwhile to show 
all distinction to one he loved so tenderly, and belie\dng, 
as he wrote to her mother, that the desire of his friends in 
power to serve him more than warranted the expectations 
he had formed, his establishment was larger than prudence 
should have dictated. Mrs. Steele had a town -house in 
Bury-street, St. James's; and within six weeks of the 
marriage, her husband had bought her a pretty little 
house at Hampton -court which he furnished handsomely, 
and pleasantly called, by way of contrast to the Palace 
by the side of which it stood, the Hovel. In the neigh- 
bourhood lived Lord Halifax ; between whom and Steele 
as well as Addison there was such frequent intercourse 
at the time, that this probably led to Steele's first unwise 
outlay, which Addison helped to make up by a loan of a 
thousand pounds. In something less than a year (the 
20th of August, 1708) the whole of this loan was repaid ; 
but soon after, the same sort of thing re- appears in the 
correspondence ; and not until some eight or nine years 
later does it entirely disappear, after a manner to be 
related hereafter, and very needlessly mis-related hitherto. 
Thus established at Hampton-court, Mrs. Steele drives 
her chariot and pair ; upon occasion, even her four horses. 
She has a Httle saddle-horse of her own, which costs her 
husband five shillings a week for his keep, when in town. 
She has also Eichard the footman, and Watts the gardener, 
and Will the boy, and her " own " women, and an addi- 
tional boy who can speak Welsh when she 'goes down to 
Carmarthen. But also, it must be confessed, she seems 
to have had a frequent and alarming recurrence of small 
needs and troubles which it is not easy to account for. If 


it be safe to take strictly the notes she so carefully pre- 
served, she was somewhat in the position pleasantly 
described by Madame de Sevigne, in her remark to the 
Countess Calonne and Madame Mazarine when they 
visited her on their way through Aries : " My dears, you 
" are like the heroines of romances ; jewels in abundance, 
" but scarce a shift to your backs ! " 

In the fifth month after their marriage, Steele writes to 
her from the Devil Tavern at Temple-bar (Ben Jonson's 
house), to tell her he cannot be home to dinner, but that 
he has partly succeeded in his business,, and that he 
incloses two guineas as earnest of more, languishes for 
her welfare, and will never be a moment careless again. 
JN'ext month, he is getting Jacob Ton^on to discount a 
bill for him, and he desires that the man who has his 
shoe- maker's bill should be told that he means to call on 
him as he goes home. Three months later, he finds it 
necessary to sleep away from home for a day or two, and 
orders the printer's boy to be sent to him with his night- 
gown, slippers, and clean linen, at the tavern where he 
is. But, in a few days, all seems prosperous again : she 
calls for him in her coach at Lord Sunderland's office, 
with his best periwig and new shoes in the coach-box, 
and they have a cheerful drive together. Not many days 
later, just as he is going to dine with Lord Halifax, he 
has to inclose her a guinea for her pocket. She has 
driven in her chariot- and-four to Hampton-court on the 
Tuesday, and on the Thursday he sends her a small 
quantity of tea she was much in want of. On the day 
when he had paid Addison back his first thousand pounds, 
he incloses for her immediate uses a guinea and a half. 
The day before he and " her favourite " Mr. Addison are 
going to meet some great men of the State, he sends her 
a quarter of a pound of black tea, and the same quantity 
of green. The day before he goes into his last attend- 
ance at Court upon Prince George, he conveys to her a 
sum so small, that he can only excuse it by saying he has 
kept but half as much in his own pocket. And a few 
days after Mr. Addison has taken him in a coach- and- 
four to dine with his sister and her husband, he tells his 
dearest Prue that he has despatched to her seven penny- 
worth of walnuts, at five a penny ; the packet containing 

Sleek.l LETTERS TO PRUE. 223 

whicli he opens with much gravity before it goes, to 
inform her that since the invoice six walnuts have been 

In that humorous touch, not less than in the change 
from his " dearest Molly '* to his " dearest Prue,'* by 
which latter name he always in future called her, we get 
glimpses of the character of Mrs. Richard Steele. That 
she had unusual graces both of mind and person, so to 
have fascinated a man like her husband, may well be 
assumed ; but here we may also see something of the 
defects and demerits that accompanied them. She seems 
to have been thrifty and prudent of everything that told 
against him (as in keeping every scrap of his letters), but 
by no means remarkably so in other respects. Clearly 
also, she gave herself the most capricious and prudish 
airs ; and quite astonishing is the success with which she 
appears to have exacted of him, not only an amount of 
personal devotion unusual in an age much the reverse of 
chivalrous, but accounts the most minute of all he might 
be doing in her absence. He thinks it hard, he says 
in one letter, that because she is handsome she will not 
behave herself with the obedience that people of worse 
features do, but that he must be continually giving her 
an account of every trifle and minute of his time ; yet he 
does it nevertheless. In subjoining some illustrations on 
this point from their first year of marriage, let us not fail 
to observe how characteristically the world has treated 
such a record. If Mr. Steele's general intercourse with 
his wife had been in keeping with the customary habits 
of the age, he would have had no need to make excuses 
or apologies of any kind; yet these very excuses, an 
exception that should prove the rule, are in his case taken 
as a rule to prove against him the exception. 

He meets a schoolfellow from India, and he has to write 
to the dearest being on earth to pardon him if she does 
not see him till eleven o'clock. He has to dine at the 
gentlemen -ushers' table at Court, and he sends his adorable 
ruler a messenger to bring him back her orders. He 
cannot possibly come home to dinner, and he writes to 
tell his dear, dear wife, that he cannot. He " lay last 
" night at Mr. Addison's," and he has to tell the dear 
creature the how and the why, and all about the papers 

224 A TOO TENDER HUSBAND. [^Sir Richavd 

they were preparing for the press. A friend stops him 
as he is going home, and carries him off to Will's, whereon 
he sends a messenger, at eleven at night, to tell her it is 
a Welsh acquaintance of hers, and that they are only 
drinking her health, and that he will be with her " within 
" a pint of wine.'' If, on another occasion, he has any 
fear of the time of his exact return, he sends a special 
despatch to tell her to go to bed. When any interesting 
news reaches him for his Gazette, he sends it off at once 
to her. From the midst of his proofs at the office, he is 
continually writing to her. When, at the close of a day 
of hard work, he has gone to dine with Addison at Sandy- 
end, he snatches a little time from eating while the others 
are busy at it at the table, to tell her he is " yours, yours, 
" ever, ever." He sends her a letter for no other purpose 
than to tell his dear, dear Prue, that he is sincerely her 
fond husband. He has a touch of the gout, and exaspe- 
rates it by coming down stairs to celebrate her first birth- 
day since their wedding ; but it is his comfort, he tells 
her mother, as he hobbles about on his crutches, to see 
his darling little wife dancing at the other end of the 

When Lord Sunderland orders him to attend at council, 
he sends a special note to warn Prue of the uncertainty 
of his release. When, in May 1708, Mr. Addison is chosen 
member for Lostwithiel, and he is obliged, with some per- 
sons concerned, to go to him immediately, he has to write 
to acquaint her with that fact. He will write from the 
Secretary's office at seven in the evening, to tell her he 
hopes to be richer next day ; and again he will write at 
half-past ten the same night, to assure her he is then 
going very soberly to bed, and that she shall be the last 
thing in his thoughts as he does so, as well as the first 
next morning. Next morning he tells her she was not, 
he is sure, so soon awake as he was for her, desiring upon 
her the blessing of God. He writes to her as many letters 
in one day as there are posts, or stage-coaches, to Hamp- 
ton-court ; and then he gets Jervas the painter to fling 
another letter for her over their garden-wall, on passing 
there at night to his own house. He lets her visit his 
Gazette office, nay, is glad of visits at such a place, he 
tells her, from so agreeable a person as herself; and when 

Steele?^ a peevish wife. 225 

her gay dress comes fluttering in, and with it " the beau- 
" tifulest object his eyes can rest upon," he forgets all 
his troubles. And if charming words could enrich what 
they accompanied, of priceless value must have been the 
guineas, the five guineas, the two guineas, the ten shil- 
lings, the five shillings, they commended to her. He has 
none of Sir Bashful Constant's scruples in confessing that 
he is in love with his wife. His life is bound up with 
her ; he values nothing truly but as she is its partaker ; 
he is but what she makes him ; with the strictest fidelity 
and love, with the utmost kindness and duty, with every 
dictate of his aftections, with every pulse of his heart, he 
is her passionate adorer, her enamoured husband. To 
which the measure of her return, in words at least, may 
perhaps be taken from the fact, that he has more than 
once to ask her to "write him word" that she shall really 
be overjoyed when they meet. 

The tone of her letters is indeed often a matter of 
complaint with him, and more often a theme for loving 
banter and pleasant raillery. What does her dissatisfac- 
tion amount to, he asks her on one occasion, but that she 
has a husband who loves her better than his life, and who 
has a great deal of troublesome business out of the pain 
of which he removes the dearest thing alive ? Her manner 
of writing, he says to her on some similar provocation, 
might to another look like neglect and want of love ; but 
he will not understand it so, for he takes it to be only the 
uneasiness of a doating fondness which cannot bear his 
absence without disdain. She may think what she 
pleases, again he tells her, but she knows she has the best 
husband in the world. On a particular letter filled with 
her caprices reaching him, he says of course he must take 
his portion as it runs without repining, for he considers 
that good nature, added to the beautiful form God had 
given her, would make a happiness too great for human 
life. But, be it lightly or gravely expressed, the feeling 
in which all these little strifes and contentions close, on his 
part, still is, that there are not words to express the ten- 
derness he has for her ; that love is too harsh a word ; and 
that if she knew how his heart aches w^hen she speaks an 
unkind word to him, and springs with joy when she smiles 
upon him, he is sure she would be more eager to make 

226 roMESTic differences. \_Sir Richard 

him tappy like a good wife, than to torment him like a 
peevish beauty. 

Nevertheless there are differences, more rare, which the 
peevish beauty tvill push into positive quarrels ; and 
from these his kind heart suffers much. The first we 
trace some eight months after the marriage (we limit all 
our present illustrations, we should remark, to the first 
year and a half of their wedded life), when we find him 
trying to court her into good humour after it, and protest- 
ing that two or three more such differences will despatch 
him quite. On another occasion he knows not, he says, 
what she would have him do ; but all that his fortune 
will compass, he promises that she shall always enjoy, 
and have nobody near her that she does not like, unless 
haply he should himself be disapproved for being so de- 
votedly her obedient husband. At yet another time, he 
teUs her he shall make it the business of his life to make 
her easy and happy ; and he is sure her cool thoughts 
will teU her that it is a woman's glory to be her husband's 
friend and companion, and not his sovereign director. 
On the day following this, he takes a higher tone. She 
has saucily told him that their little dispute has been far 
from a trouble to her, to which he gravely replies, that 
to him it has been the greatest affliction imaginable : and, 
since she has twitted him with the judgment of the world, 
his answer must be, that he shall never govern his actions 
by it, but by the rules of morahty and right reason ; and 
so he will have her understand, that, though he loves her 
better than the light of his eyes, or the life-blood in his 
heart, yet he will not have his time or his will, on which 
her interests as well as his depend, under any direction 
but his own. Upon this a great explosion appears to 
have followed ; and almost the only fragment we possess 
of her writing is a confession of error consequent upon it, 
which so far is curiously characteristic of what we beheve 
her nature to have been, that while, in language which 
may somewhat explain the secret of her fascination over 
him, it gives even touching expression to her love and 
her contrition, it yet also contrives, in the very act of 
penitence, to plant another thorn. She begs his pardon 
if she has offended him, and she prays God to forgive 
him for adding to the sorrow of a heavy heart, which is 

Steele.'^ origin of bickerstaff. 227 

above all sorrow but for his sake. This he is content to 
put aside by a very fervent assurance that there is not 
that thing on earth, except his honour, and that dignity 
which every man who lives in the world must preserve to 
himself, which he is not ready to sacrifice to her will and 
inclination ; and then he pleasantly closes by telling her 
that he had been dining the day before with Lord Hah- 
fax, when they had drank to the "beauties in the garden." 
The beauties in the garden were Prue and an old school- 
fellow then on a visit to her. 

And, of the wits who so drank to her at Lord Halifax's, 
Swift was doubtless one. For this was the time when 
what he afterwards sneeringly called that nobleman's 
" good words and good dinners " were most abundant, 
and when Anthony Henley put together, as the very type 
of unexceptionable Whig company, " Mr. Swift, Lord 
" Halifax, Mr. Addison, Mr.Congreve,and the Gazetteer." 
Never w^as Swift so intimate as now with Steele and Addi- 
son. We have him dining with Steele at the George, 
when Addison entertains ; with Addison at the Fountain, 
when Steele entertains ; and with both at the St. James's, 
when Wortley Montague is the host. And no wonder 
the run upon him was great at the time, for he had lately 
started that wonderful joke against Partridge in which 
the rest of the wits joined so eagerly; and which not only 
kept the town in fite of laughter for a great many months, 
but was turned to a memorable use by Steele. In ridi- 
cule of the notorious almanac-maker, and all kindred im- 
postors. Swift devised sundry Predictions after their own 
manner for the year 1708, the very first of which an- 
nounced nothing less than the death of Partridge himself; 
which event, after extremely cautious consultation with 
the star of his nativity, he fixed for the 29th of March, 
about eleven at night : and he was casting about for a 
whimsical name to give to the assumed other astrologer 
who was to publish this joke, when his eye caught a sign 
over a locksmith's house with Isaac Bickerstaff under- 
neath. Out accordingly came Mr. Bickerstaff's predic- 
tions, followed very speedily by an account of the " ac- 
" complishment of the first of them upon the 29tli 
" instant." What he most counted upon of course was, 
that Partridge should be such a fool as to take the matter 



up gravely ; and lie was not disappointed. In a furious 
pamphlet, the old astrologer declared he was perfectly 
well, and they were knaves that reported it otherwise. 
Whereupon Mr. Bickerstaff retorted with a vindication 
more diverting than either of its predecessors ; Rowe, 
Steele, Addison, and Prior, contributed to the entertain- 
ment in divers amusing ways ; and Congreve, affecting to 
come to the rescue, described under Partridge's name the 
distresses and reproaches 'Squire Bickerstaff had exposed 
him to, insomuch that he could not leave his doors with- 
out somebody twitting him for sneaking about without 
paying his funeral expenses. And all this, heightened in 
comicaHty by its contrast with the downright rage of 
Partridge himself, who was continually advertising him- 
self not dead, and by the fact that the Company of Sta- 
tioners did actually proceed as if in earnest he were, so 
contributed to make Mr. Bickerstaff talked about far and 
wide, that Steele afterwards spoke with no exaggeration 
when he gave Swift the merit of having rendered the 
name famous through all parts of Europe, and of having 
raised it, by his inimitable spirit and humour, to as high 
a pitch of reputation as it could possibly arrive at.^ 

That prediction was to be falsified, and the name of 
Bickerstaff, even from Steele himself, was to receive addi- 
tional glory : but not yet for a few months. The close of 
1708 was a time of sore distress with Steele, aggravated 
by his wife's approaching confinement. An execution for 
rent was put into Bury-street, which unassisted he could 
not satisfy ; and it has been surmised that Addison was 
the friend whom he describes as refusing him assistance. 
This, however, is not likely. Though he tells his wife, 
two days afterwards, that she is to be of good cheer, for 

* He said tkis in that preface to ' * entering upon this work, a cer- 

the fourth collected volume of the ** tain uncommon way of thinking, 

Taller in which (without naming " and a turn in conversation pecu- 

him) he refers to Swift as a gentle- *' liar to that agreeable gentleman, 

man well known to possess a genius " rendered his company very ad- 

quite inimitable in its power of Bur- *' vantageous to one whose imagi- 

rounding with pleasing ideas occa- "nation was to be continually 

sions altogether barren to the *' employed upon obvious and com- 

common run of invention. With ** mon subjects, though at the same 

characteristic candour, he adds his " time obliged to treat of them in 

personal obligations. " I must ac- ** a new and unbeaten method." 
** knowledge also that at my first 

Steele.'\ mr. secretary addison. 229 

he has found friendship among the lowest when disap- 
pointed by the highest, he far too eagerly connects with 
" her rival " Addison, in a letter of less than a week's 
later date, a suggestion which is at once to bring back 
happiness to them all, to point with any probability the 
former reproach as against him. Just at this time, on 
Wharton becoming Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Addison 
received the appointment of Secretary ; and his instant 
suggestion was that Steele should put in his claim for the 
Under- Secretaryship, which this would vacate. Through 
letters extending over some five or six weeks, it is obvious 
that the hope continues to sustain Steele, and that the 
friends are working together to that end. It is not ex- 
tinguished even so late as Addison's farewell supper ; 
where he " treats " before his depaHure, and Steele helps 
him in doing the honours to his friends. But he is doomed 
to experience, what Addison himself proved during the 
reverses of some twelve months later, that " the most 
" likely way to get a place is to appear not to want it ;"* 
and three weeks after the supper, he writes to a friend 
that his hopes for the Under- Secretaryship are at an end, 
but he believes " something additional " is to be given to 
him. After a few weeks more, his daughter Elizabeth is 
born ; and, according to a memorandum in the writing of 
Prue, " her god-mothers were my mother and Mrs. 
" Yaughan, her god-fathers Mr. Wortley Montague and 
" Mr. Addison." 

Then, not many weeks after the Irish Secretary's de- 
parture, occurred that incident, which, little as Steele was 
conscious of it at the time, concerned him far more than all 
the state dignities or worldly advantages his great friends 
could give or take away. On Tuesday the 12th of April 
1709, Steele published, as the first of the Lucubrations of 
Isaac Bickerstaff, Esquire, the first number of the Taller; 
which he continued to issue unintermittedly, every Tues- 
day, Thursday, and Saturday, until Tuesday the 2nd of 
January 1710-11. It does not appear that any one was 

1 This expression is in one of of Mr. Bohn, in whose complete 

Addison's letters, hitherto unpub- edition of Addison's works, prepared 

lished, of which a collection has for his Standard Library, they are 

been submittsd to us, fur the pur- designed to appear, 
poses of this paper, by the courtesy 


in his secret, unless perhaps Swift; who was still lingering 
in London, with whom he was in constant communication 
(all Swift's letters and packets heing addressed to him at 
his Gazette office, for the friend's privilege of so getting 
them free of postage),' and with whom he may probably 
have advised before using Mr. Bickerstaff 's name. Addison, 
whose later connexion with it became so memorable, was 
certainly not consulted at first, and did not even recognise 
his friend's hand until some numbers had appeared. The 
first four were given to the newsmen for distribution 
gratis, and afterwards the price charged was a penny. 
The early and large demand from the country does not 
seem to have been expected ; for it was not till after the 
26th number, that a threehalfpenny edition was regularly 
published with a blank half-sheet for transmission by 
post. Steele himself appears modestly to have thought, 
if Spence reports him accurately, that the combination 
with its more original matter of its little articles of news, 
to which of course his official position imparted unusual 
authority, first gave it the wings that carried it so far ; 
but, after what we have shown of its other attractions at 
the very outset, this explanation will hardly be required. 
The causes too, as well as the extent, of its popularity, 
have been pointed out by a then living authority quite 

* An important privilege in those spondents, and how far he dispensed 

days, and one which Steele would with it ; but the truth appears to 

fain have been able to exert on have been, as was most natural, 

behalf of his friend Mr. Bickerstaff. that the mere occasional contri- 

As it was, Isaac was obliged to butors were required to pay (this is 

insist upon his correspondents pay- clear from an advertisement sub- 

ing for the carriage of the letters joined to the Tatler No. 186, in its 

they sent. The postage of a single original form), and that payment 

letter to any place not exceeding was not expected in the case of Mr. 

eighty miles, was then but Id, and Bickerstaflf's coadjutors and prin- 

a double letter, Ad. But, in the cipal friends. At the close of No. 

next session of parliament, the 117, in the original form, he gives 

postage to the same distance was his thanks and humble service for a 

advanced to Zd and Qd (where it parcel of letters value ten shillings, 

stood for upwards of half a century, of which it is added that the next 

when it was still further advanced); subsequent letter would be one; and 

and of course the charge was con- this leaves no doubt that the packet 

siderably more for greater distances. was one of those precious ones from 

In the notes to his excellent edition Ireland, containing not merely Mr. 

of the Tatler, Mr. Nichols dis- Eustace Budgell's handywork, but 

cusses how far Mr. Bickerstaff Addison's and Swift's. 
exacted prepayment from his corre- 

Steele.l extraordinary popularity. 231 

Gay was a young man just entering on tlie town, when 

the Tatler was quitting it; and, already with strong Tory 
leanings, he wrote to a friend in the country shortly after 
the appearance of the last number, that its sudden cessa- 
tion was bewailed as some general calamity, and that by 
it the coffee-houses had lost more customers than they 
could hope to retain by all their other newspapers put 
together. He adds that the author's reputation had really 
arisen to a greater height than he believed any living 
author's ever was before him ; and he proceeds to account 
for it by the fact that, whereas other polite writers endea- 
voured to please the age by falling in ^dth its vices, and 
it would have been " a jest some time since for a man to 
" assert that anything witty could be said in praise of a 
" married state, or that devotion and virtue were any way 
" necessary to the character of a fine gentleman," Mr. 
Bickerstaff, on the other hand, had the courage to tell the 
town that they were a parcel of fops, fools, and vain co- 
quettes ; and had the genius to tell it in such a manner 
as even pleased them, and made them more than half 
inclined to believe it. And who, continues Gay, remem- 
bering the thousand follies his little paper had either 
banished or given check to, how much it had contributed 
to virtue and religion, how many it had rendered happy 
by merely showing it was their own fault if they were not 
so, and to what extent it had impressed upon the indiffer- 
ent the graces and advantages of letters, who shall won- 
der that Mr. Bickerstaff, apart from his standing with 
the wits, should at the morning tea-tables and evening 
assemblies have become of all guests the most wel- 
come? that the very merchants on 'Change should have 
relished and caressed him ? and that the bankers in 
Lombard-street, not less than the ladies at Court, 
were now verily persuaded " that Captain Steele is 
" the greatest scholar and best casuist of any man in 
" England .P" 

One bitter drop there was, nevertheless, in the cup thus 
overflowing. Even the Tories, says Gay, " in respect to 
" his other good qualities, had almost forgiven his unac- 
" countable imprudence in declaring against them." 
There is much virtue in an almost. Here it means, that 
Steele would certainly have been forgiven his first unac- 

S32 THE WHIGS IN EXTREMIS. \_Sir Rtchaj d 

countable imprudence, if lie had not gone on committing 
^vast many more. 

AKThe Tatler had not been half a year in existence, when 
uneasy symptoms of weakness had broken out among the 
Ministry. In the autumn Addison returned to London, 
and the first result of the conference of the friends was a 
letter from Steele to Swift, who remained in Ireland. It 
enclosed a letter from Lord Halifax. It also told Swift 
that no man could have said more in praise of another, 
than Addison had said last Wednesday in praise of him at 
Lord Halifax's dinner-table. It assured him, that, among 
powerful men, no opportunity was now omitted to upbraid 
the Ministry for his stay in Ireland ; and that there was 
but one opinion among the company at the dinner in 
question, which included Lord Edward Eussell, Lord 
Essex, Mr. Maynwaring, Mr. Addison, and himself. 
Finally, it wonders that Swift does not oftener write to 
him, reminds him of the town's eagerness to listen to the 
real Mr. Bickerstaff, and tells him how his substitute 
longs to usher him and his into the world. " Not that 
" there can be anything added by me to your fame," 
says the good-hearted writer, " but to walk bare-headed 
" before you." In this letter may be read the anxiety of 
the Whigs, conceived too late, as so many of their good 
purposes have been, to secure the services of Jonathan 
Swift. The reply was a first-rate Tatler,^ but nothing 
satisfactory in regard to the Whigs. 

^ I have said in a previous paper " what great anxiety I have suf- 

that Swift's tone jars now and then " fered, to see of how little benefit 

upon the mirth of his friends, as hav- "my Lucubrations have been to 

ing something too much of condescen- '* my fellow-subjects. Men will go 

sion in it ; but the humour of all his " on in their own way, in spite of 

contributions to the T'afZfr is of the "all my labour. I gave Mr. 

most rare and exquisite kind. Ge- " Didapper a private reprimand for 

nerally of course he wrote as a cor- ** wearing red-heeled shoes, and at 

respondent; but occasionally Steele "the same time was so indulgent 

surrendered Mr. BickerstafF's chair " as to connive at him for fourteen 

to him, and observe howslily he can " days, because I would give him 

use it to have a friendly laugh at " the wearing of them out ; but, 

everybody concerned, "Neman," "after all this, I am. informed he 

he begins (No, 67) "can conceive, "appeared yesterday with a new 

"until he comes to try it, how " pair of the same sort, I have no 

" great a pain it is to be a public- "better success with Mr. What- 

" spirited person, I am sure I am " D'ye-call, as to his buttons ; 

" unable to express to the world " Stentor still roars ; and box and 

Steele.'] the harley ministry. 233 

Soon after broke out the Sacheverell trial, and with it 
the opportunity Harley had planned and waited for. He 
saw the Whig game was up, and that he had only to pre- 
sent himself and claim the spoil. Steele saw it too, and 
made vain attempts in the Tatler to turn the popular 
current. The promise made him before Addison's first 
departure for Dublin, was now redeemed ; and a Commis- 
sionership of Stamps testified, tardily enough, the Whig 
sense of the services he was rendering, and the risks he 
was running, in their behalf. From all sides poured in 
upon him, at the same time, warnings which he bravely 
disregarded. From Ireland, under the name of Ami- 
nadab, he was prudently counselled to consider what a 
day might bring forth, and to " think of that as he took 
"tobacco;" nor could he, in accordance with such advice, 
have taken many whiffs, when Swift followed his letter. 
By the time he arrived in London, at the close of August 
1710, the Whig overthrow was as nearly as possible 
complete; Harley and St. John were in power; his friend 
Prior, who had gone over to them and was expelled from 
the Kit-Katt, was abusing his old associate Steele in a 
new paper called the Examiner; and the first piece of 
interesting news he had to write to Stella was, that 
Steele would certainly lose his place of Gazetteer. This 
was after an evening (the 10th of September) passed in 
company with him and Addison. They met again, at 
the dinner- table of Lord Halifax, on the 1st of October ; 
when Swift refused to pledge with them the resurrection, 
unless they would add the reformation, of the Whigs : 
but he omitted to mention, that, on that very day, he had 
been busy lampooning the ex- whig-premier. Three days 
after he was dining with Harley, having cast his fortunes 
finally against his old friends ; and before the same 
month was closed, the Gazette had been taken from 

Yet Swift afiects to feel some surprise that, on going to 
Addison a few days later to talk over Steele's prospects, 

" dice rattle as loud, as they did ** /must still go on in laying these 

'' before I writ against them. Par- " enormities before men's eyes ; and 

** tridge walks about at noon -day, "let them answer for going on iu 

" and J^lsculapius thinks of adding " their practice." 
" a ne w lace to b is livery. However, 

234 SWIFT JOINS THE TORIES. [5/> Richavd 

and volunteer Ms good services with Harley, Addison 
should have " talked as if he suspected me," and refused 
to fall in with anything proposed. More strangely still, he 
complains to Stella the next day that he has never had 
an invitation to Steele's house since he came over from 
Ireland ; and that during this visit he has not even seen 
his wife, " by whom he is governed most abominably. So 
*• what care I for his wit ?" he adds. " For he is the worst 
" company in the world till he has a bottle of wine in his 
" head." Nevertheless he shows still a strange hankering 
after both the friends, and not so much indifference as 
might be supposed to the worst of company : for, the next 
social glimpse we have of him is at our old acquaintance 
Elliott's, of the St. James's, where the coffeeman has a 
christening, at which, as Yicar of Laracor, he officiates ; 
and where " the rogue " had a most noble supper, and 
Steele and himself sat among some scurvy people over a 
bowl of punch, until very late indeed. But, in truth, one 
has not much difficulty in discovering exactly enough, in 
spite of many apparent contradictions of phrase, in what 
position recent events had now placed the two friends 
towards him. On their side, without further faith in his 
political profession, remained still the same respect for his 
genius, and still the same desire to have help from his 
wit ; and on his, underlying a real desire to be of service 
where he could, was displayed too much of a fussy 
exhibition of his eagerness to serve, and far too exuberant 
and exulting a sense of that sudden and unwonted favour 
at Whitehall, which seemed half to have turned the great 
brain that had condescendingly waited for it so long. 
At his intercession, Harley was to see Steele; but the 
ex- Gazetteer did not even keep the appointment which 
was to save him his Commissionership. He probably 
knew, better than Swift, that Harley had no present inten- 
tion to remove him. The new Lord Treasurer certainly 
less surprised his antagonist Steele than his friend 
Jonathan, by showing no more resentment than was 
impHed in the request that the latter should not give any 
more help to the Tatler. *' They hate to think that I 
" should help him," he wrote to Stella, *' and so 1 frankly 
" told them 1 would do it no more." 

Already Steele had taken the determination, however, 

Siee/e.'\ the tatler discontinued. 235 

wliicli made this resolve, in so far as the Tatler was con- 
cerned, of the least possible importance to him. His 
loss of the Gazette had entailed a change in the con- 
duct of his paper, which had convinced him of the 
expediency of re-casting it on a new plan. The town 
was startled by the announcement, therefore, that the 
Tatler of the 2nd January, 1710-11, was to be the last ; 
and Swift informs us that Addison, whom he met that night 
at supper, was as much surprised as himself at the an- 
nouncement, and quite as little prepared for it. But this 
may only express the limit of the confidence now reposed in 
Swift ; for there can be little doubt that the friends had 
acted together, in what already was in agitation to replace 
the Tatler. Nor is there any ground to suppose that 
Addison was ignorant, or Swift informed, of an interview 
which Steele had with Harley, in the interval before the 
new design was matured. The Lord Treasurer's weakness 
was certainly not a contempt or disregard for letters, and, 
though the object of the meeting was to settle a kind of 
armed neutrality, he overpassed it so far as to intimate 
the wish not simply to retain Steele in the Commissioner- 
ship, but to give him something more valuable.' This 
was civilly declined, but the courtesy was not forgotten ; 
and the better feeling it promoted for a time, the sort of 
armistice it established, the understood abstinence from 
present hostility involved in it, obtained all the more 
zealous help from Addison to his friend's new scheme. 
On Thursday the 1st of March, 1710-11, appeared 
the first number of the Spectator , with an announce- 
ment that it was to be continued daily. Much wonder 
was raised by so bold a promise, and little hope enter- 
tained that it could ever be redeemed. The result showed, 
notwithstanding, with what well-grounded confidence the 

^ "When I had the honour of a " which yon have at snndry times 

short conversation with yon, you *' showed me." So Steele wrote to 

were pleased not only to signify to Harley (then Lord Oxford) on re- 

me that I should remain in this signing his Commissionership a little 

office, but to add that, if I would more than two years after the date 

name to you one of more value, in the text, when the Spectator had 

which would be more commodi- been brought to a close, and his 

ous to me, you would favour me tacit compact with Addison was at 

in it. . . I thank your Lordship an end, 
for the regard and distinction 

236 THE SPECTATOR BEGUN. \_Sir Richurd 

friends had embarked in an enterprise wliicli men of 
less ricli resource thought extravagant and impossible. 
From day to day, without a single intermission, the Spec- 
tator was continued through 555 numbers, up to the 6th 
of December 1712. It began with a regular design, which 
with unflagging spirit was kept up to its close. " It 
" certainly is very pretty," wrote Swift to Stella, after 
some dozen numbers had appeared ; when, in answer to 
her question, he had to tell her that it was written by Steele 
with Addison's help. " Mr. Steele seems to have gathered 
" new life," he added, " and to have a new fund of wit." 
So indeed it might have seemed. Never had he shown 
greater freshness and invention, than in his first sketches 
of the characters that were to give life to the new design : 
nor can any higher thing be said of his conception of Sir 
Roger de Coverley and Will Honeycomb, than that it 
deserved the noble elaboration of Addison; or of his 
humorous touches to the short-faced gentleman,' than 
that even Addison's invention was enriched by them. It 
is not our purpose here to compare or criticise what each, 
according to his genius, contributed. It is enough to 
say that to the last both nobly bore their part, and that, 
whatever we have seen in the Tatler of Steele's wit, 
pathos, and philosophy, reappeared with new graces in the 
Spectator.'^ There was the same inexpressible charm in 

^ We can give only one out of Spectator Tvas printed, to insert a 

many masterly strokes ; but, in the new preposition or conjunction. Nor 

whole range of Addison's wit, is does this differ from Pope's report 

there anything more perfect than that Addison wrote very fluently, 

Steele's making the Spectator re- but was very scrupulous and slow 

member that he was once taken up in correction : to which he adds, 

for a Jesuit, for no other reason what no doubt Steele knew and 

than his profound taciturnity ? acted on, that " it seemed to be for 

2 It may perhaps be worth sub- *' his advantage not to have time 

joining, before we quit the subject ** for much revisal." That, during 

of their pleasant and ever memo- the continuance of the works in 

rable literary companionship, that which they were jointly engaged, 

what has been said at various times Steele sent all papers to press, is 

of Addison's care and Steele's indif- certain. Tickell asserts that the 

ference in regard to corrections of papers, before publication, were 

the press, seems to express not badly never or seldom shown to each other 

the different temperaments of the by their respective writers; but, that 

men. Joseph Warton had heard of all passed through Steele's hands to 

Addison's being so nice, that he the printer, is proved by old Richard 

would even stop the press when Nutt, who worked in the ofiice of 

nearly the whole impression of the his father, Moi-phew's partner, John 

Steele.~\ a new fund of wit. 237 

the matter, the same inexhaustible variety in the form. 
And upon all the keen exposure of vice, or the pleasant 
laugh at folly ; as prominent in the lifelike little story, 
as in the criticism of an actor or a play ; making attractive 
the gravest themes to the unthinking, and recommending 
the lightest fancies to the most grave ; there was still the 
old and ineffaceable impress of good-nature and humanity 
— the soul of a sincere man shining out through it all. 
Let any one read the uninterrupted series of twenty-two 
Spectators, which Steele daily contributed from the 6th 
to the 31st of August 1711, and doubt his title to a full 
share in the glory and fame of the enterprise. Try his 
claim to participate in its wit and character, by such 
papers as the short-faced gentleman's experiences (No. 4) ; 
as the seven he inserted in the series of Sir Roger de 
Coverley ; as those numerous sketches of Clubs which 
his touch filled with such various life ; and as the essays 
we now proceed to name. On Powell's Puppet-Show 
(No. 14), On Ordinary People (No. 17), On Envious 
People (No. 19), On Over-consciousness and Affectation 
(No. 38), On Coffee-house Politicians (No. 49), On Court 
Mournings (No. 64), On the Fine Gentlemen of the Stage 
(No. 65), On Coarse Speaking (No. 75), On the Impro- 
vidence of Jack Truepenny (No. 82), On the Footmen of 
the House of Peers (No. 88), On the Portable Quality of 
Good Humour (No. 100), On Servants' Letters (No. 137), 
On the Man of Wit and Pleasure (No. 151), On the 
Virtues of Self-denial (No. 206 and No. 248), On Mr. 
Antony Freeman's domestic troubles, and on Mr. Tom 
Meggott's share therein (Nos. 212 and 216), in which 
lies the whole germ of the capital comedy of the Jealous 
Wife, On Generous Men (No. 346), On Witty Companions 

Nutt. This same Richard also told * ' which he saw rapidly written by- 
Mr. Nichols, that the press was "Steele at midnight, and in ted, 
stopped, not seldom, by want of copy, "whilst he waited to carry it to 
for which Steele was responsible ; " the press." Let me simply add, 
and that in these cases he had often that the art of making errata in 
a hard task to find out Steele, who themselves delightful, and of turn- 
frequently wrote hastily what was ing the correction of a printer's 
needed, in a room at the printing- error into a new spring and charm 
office. *' This merry old man, who of wit, was never carried to such a 
*' died but lately, mentioned upon perfection as by Addison. 
" recollection a particular paper 


ON DICK eastcourt's DEATH. \_Sir Richat'd 

(JSTo. 258), On the Comic Actors (No. 370), On Jack Sippet 
(No. 448), and On Yarious Forms of Anger (No. 438), 
with its whimsical contrasts of imperturbability and wrath. 
Let him be measured, too, in graver themes, by such 
papers as those On Living to our own Satisfaction (No. 27), 
On Female Education (No. QQ\ On the Death of a Friend 
(No. 133), On the Fear of Death (No. 152), On Youth 
and Age (No. 153), On the Flogging at Public Schools 
(No. 157), On Raffaelle's Cartoons (No. 226,) and On 
the Death of the Comedian Eastcourt (No. 468), the 
last one of his most characteristic, wise, and beautiful 
pieces of writing.* So long as these and many others 
survive, there will be no need to strike him apart, or 
judge him. aloof, from his friend. 

^ I subjoin a passage, never to be 
quoted too often, from this exquisite 

in which, describing East- 
court's astonishing talents for loi- 
micry, he extracts from them a phi- 
losophy of most wise and general 
application to the weakness and 
self-love of us all, ' ' What was ■ ' he 
says "peculiarly excellent in this 

* memorable companion, was, that 
' in the accounts he gave of persons 
' and sentiments, he did not only 

* hit the figure of their faces, and 
' manner of their gestures, but he 
' would in his narrative fall into 
' their very way of thinking ; and 

* this when he recounted passages 
' wherein men of the best wit were 

* concerned, as well as such wherein 
' were represented men of the lowest 
' rank of understanding. It is 
' certainly as great an instance of 
' self-love to a weakness, to be im- 
' patient of being mimick'd, as any 
' can be imagined. There were 
' none but the vain, the formal, 

* the proud, or those who were in- 

* capable of amending their faults, 
' that dreaded him ; to others he 
' was in the highest degree pleas- 
' ing ; and I do not know any sa- 

* tisfaction of any indifferent kind 
' I ever tasted so much, as having 

* got over an impatience of my see- 
' ing myself in the air he could put 
' me when I have displeased him. 

' It is, indeed, to his exquisite talent 
' this way, more than any philoso- 
' phy I could read on the subject, 
' that ray person is very little of 
' my care ; and it is indifferent to 
' me what is said of my shape, my 
' air, my manner, my speech, or 
' my address. It is to poor East- 
' court I chiefly owe, that I am 
'• arrived at the happiness of think- 

■ ing nothing a diminution to me, 

■ but what argues a depravity of 
' my will. . . I have been present 

■ with him among men of the most 
' delicate taste a whole night, and 
' have known him (for he saw it 

■ was desired) keep the discourse 
'• to himself the most part of it, 

■ and maintain his good humour 

■ with a countenance, in a language 

• so delightful, without offence to 

■ any person or thing upon earth, 

• still preserving the distance his 

■ circumstances obliged him to ; — 
' I say, I have seen him do all this 
' in such a charming manner, that 
' I am sure none of those I hint at 

will read this, without giving 
him some sorrow for their abun- 
dant mirth, and one gush of tears 
for so many bursts of laughter. 
I wish it were any honour to the 
pleasant creature's memory, that 
my eyes are too much suffused to 
let me go on — " 

Steele ] spectator's unexampled success. 239 

Nothing in England had ever equalled the success of 
the Spectator. It sold, in numbers and volumes, to an 
extent almost fabulous in those days ; and when Boling- 
broke's stamp carried Grub-street by storm, it was the 
solitary survivor of that famous siege. Doubling its 
price, it yet fairly held its ground ; and at its close it was 
not only paying Government 29/ a week on account of 
the halfpenny stamp upon the numbers sold, but had a 
circulation in volumes of nearly ten thousand. Altogether, 
it must often have circulated before the stamp, thirty 
thousand, which might be multiplied by six to give a 
corresponding popularity in our day. Nevertheless Steele 
had been for some time uneasy and restless. Thus far, with 
reasonable fidelity, the armistice on his side had been kept ; 
but from day to day, at what he believed to be the thick- 
ening of a plot against public liberty, he found it more and 
more difficult to observe the due restraints ; and not seldom 
latterly, perhaps in spite of himself, his thoughts took the 
direction of politics. " He has been mighty impertinent 
*^ of late in his Spectators," wrote Swift to Stella, " and 
" I believe he will very soon lose his employment." That 
was, to Steele, the last and least thing at present. What 
he wanted, was a certain freedom for himself which hardly 
consisted with the plan of the Spectator; and he therefore 
resolved to substitute an entirely new set of characters. 
He closed it in December 1712, and he announced a new 
daily paper, called the Guardian, for the following March. 

Into this new paper, to which Addison (engaged in 
preparing Cato for the stage) did not for a considerable 
time contribute, he carried the services of the young poet 
whose surprising genius was now the talk of the town. 
Steele had recognised at once Pope's surpassing merit, 
and in his friendly critic Pope welcomed a congenial 
friend. He submitted verses to him, altered them to his 
pleasure, wrote a poem at his request, and protested 
himself more eager to be called his little friend, Dick 
Distich, than to be complimented with the title of a 
great genius or an eminent hand.' He was so recreated, 

^ An accomplished friend of mine Correspondence professing to have 

(in Athenctum and Notes and Que- been interchanged between himself 

ries) has succeeded in establishing and Steele at this time, and on 

that the various letters in Pope's which the statement in the text is 

240 QUARREL WITH SWIFT. [♦S/V Rtchavd 

in short, as lie afterwards wrote to Addison, with " the 
" brisk sallies and quick turns of wit which Mr. Steele 
" in his liveliest and freest humours darts about him," 
that he did not immediately foresee the consequence of 
engaging with so ardent a politician. Accordingly, just 
as Swift broke out into open quarrel with his old asso- 
ciate, we find Pope confessing that many honest Jacobites 
were taking it very ill of him that he continued to write 
with Steele. 

The dispute with Swift need not detain us. It is 
enough if we use it to show Steele's spirit as a gentleman, 
who could not retort an injustice, or fight wrong with 
wrong. When, after a very few months, he stood up in the 
House of Commons to justify himself from libels which 
had exhausted the language of scurriHty in heaping insult 
upon him and his, the only personal remark he made was 
to quote a handsome tribute he had formerly ofi'ered to 
their writer, with this manly addition : " The gentleman 
" I here intended was Dr. Swift. This kind of man I 
'* thought him at that time : we have not met of late, but 
" I hope he deserves this character still." And why was 
he thus tender of Swift ? He avowed the reason in the 
last paper of the JEnglishman, where he says that he knew 
his old friend's sensibility of reproach to be such, that he 
would be unable to bear life itself under half the ill lan- 
guage he had given to others. Swift himself had formerly 
described to Steele those early days when he possessed the 
sensitive fear of libel to an extraordinary degree, and this 
had not been forgotten by his generous adversary. 

But what really was at issue in their quarrel ought to 
be stated, since it forms the point of departure taken by 
Steele, not simply from those who differed but from many 
who agreed with him in politics.'^' Principles are out of 
" the case," said Swift, " we dispute wholly about per- 
" sons." " No," rejoined Steele, " the dispute is not 
" about persons and parties, but things and causes^'^?' 
Such had been the daring conduct of the men in po\^^, 
and such their insolent success, that Steele, at a time 

based, only assumed their existing truth generally is expressed in those 

shape in later years, when it suited letters, as to the relations now sub- 

Pope's purpose so to place them sisting between Pope and bteele, I 

before the world. But that the entertain no doubt. 

Sieele.~\ in the house of commons. 241 

■when few had the courage to speak out, did not scruple 
to declare what he believed to be their ultimate design. 
" Nothing," he wrote to his wife some few months after 
the present date, "nothing but Divine Providence can 
" prevent a Civil War within a few years." Swift laughed, 
and said Steele's head had been turned by the success of 
his papers, and that he thought himself mightily more im- 
portant than he really was. This may have been so ; but 
whatever imaginary value he gave himself, he was at least 
ready to risk, for the supposed duty he thought also in- 
cumbent on him. Nor was it little for him, in his posi- 
tion at that time, to surrender literature for politics ; to 
resign his Commissionership of Stamps ; and to enter the 
House of Commons. He did not require Pope to point 
him out lamentingly to Congreve, as a great instance of 
the fate of all who are so carried away, with the risk of 
being not only punished by the other party but of suffer- 
ing from their own. Even from the warning of Addison, 
that his zeal for the public might be ruinous to himself, 
he had turned silently aside. Not a day now passed 
that the most violent scurrilities were not directed against 
his pen and person, in which one of Swift's "under- 
" writers," Wagstaff, made himself conspicuous ; and 
CoUey Cibber laughs at the way in which these scribes 
were already labouring to transfer to his friend Addison 
the credit of all his Tatlers and Spectators. Nevertheless 
he went steadily on. " It is not for me," he remarked with 
much dignity, " to say how I write or speak, but it is for 
" me to say I do both honestly ; and when I threw away 
" some fame for letters and politeness, to serve the nobler 
" ends of justice and government, I did not do it with 
" a design to be as negligent of wh^t should be said of 
'' me with relation to my integrity, -^o, wit and humour 
*' are the dress and ornament of the mind ; but honesty 
" and truth are the soul itself' We may, or may not, 
think Steele discreet in the choice he made ; but of his 
sincerity and disinterestedness, there ought to be no doubt 

When at last, upon the publication of his Crisis, which 
was but the sequel to those papers in the Guardian that 
led to his election for Stockbridge, the motion was made 
to expel him for ha\ing " maliciously insinuated that the 

242/ DEATH OF QUEEN ANNE. [S/V Richurd 

xtrotestant succession in the House of Hanover is in 
" danger under her Majesty's administration/' the Whigs 
rallied to his support with what strength they could. 
Eobert Walpole and General Stanhope took their place 
on either side of him as he waited at the bar, and Addison 
prompted him throughout his spirited and temperate de- 
ience.//He spoke, says one who heard him, for near three 
hours; with such temper, eloquence, and unconcern, as 
gave entire satisfaction to all who were not prepossessed 
against him. But perhaps the most interesting occur- 
rence of that memorable day was the speech of Lord 
Finch. This young nobleman, afterwards famous as a 
minister and orator, owed gratitude to Steele for having 
repelled in the Guardian a libel on his sister, and he rose 
to make his maiden speech in defence of her defender. 
But bashfulness overcame him ; and after a few confused 
sentences he sat down, crying out as he did so, "It is 
" strange I cannot speak for this man, though I could 
" readily fight for him ! " Upon this, such cheering rang 
through the House, that suddenly the young lord took 
heart, rose again, and made the first of a long series of 
telling and able speeches. Of course, however, it did" not 
save Steele, who was expelled by a majority of nearly a 
hundred in a house of four hundred members. 
<^t was a short-lived triumph, we need hardly say. 
Soon came the blow which struck down that tyrant ma- 
jority, dispersed its treason into air, consigned Oxford to 
the Tower, and drove Bolingbroke into exile. Eagerly 
Steele wrote to his wife from the St. James's coffeehouse, 
on the 31st of July 1714, that the Queen was dead»; It 
was a mistake, but she died next day. Three days later, 
he writes from the Thatched-house, St. James's, that he 
has been loaded^with compliments by the Regents, and 
assured of soja^hing immediately. Yet it was but little 
he obtained, '^e received a place in the household (Sur- 
vey orship of the royal Stables) ; was placed in the com- 
mission of peace for Middlesex; and, on subsequently 
:9ing up with an address from that county, was knighte^^ 
L little before he became Sir Hichard, however, the mem- 
ber for Truro resigned the supervision of the Theatre 
Royal (then a government office, entitling to a share in 
the patent, and worth seven or eight hundred a year), and 


the players so earnestly petitioned for Steele as his suc- 
cessor, that he was named to the offijj^j^" His spirits 
" took such a lively turn upon it," says Cibber, " that, 
" had we been all his own sons, no unexpected act of filial 
" duty could have more endeared us to him.'* Whatever 
the coldness elsewhere might be, here, at any rate, was 
warmth enough. Benefits past were not benefits forgot, 
with those lively good-natured men. They remembered, 
as Cibber tells us, when a criticism in the Tatler used to 
fill their theatre at a time when nothing else could ; and 
they knew that not a comedian among them * but owed 
something to Eichard Steele, whose good nature on one 
occasion had even consented that Doggett should announce 
the Tatler as intending to be bodily present at his benefit, 
and had permitted him to dress a fictitious Isaac Bicker- 
stafi" as himself, for amusement of the crowded house.^ 
-, The politicians Steele certainly foun.d less mindful of 
the past than the players. But, if we show that the course 
he took in the prosperous days of Whiggism difi'ered in 
no respect from that which he had taken in its adverse 
days, some excuse may perhaps suggest itself for the dis- 
pensers of patronage and of&ce. He entered Parliament 
for Boroughbridge, the Duke of Newcastle having given 
him his interest there ; and for some time, and with some 

' I have spoken of this already ; " others on the stage were made 
but I may here add that the most *' to appear real great peisons, and 
humble, as well as the highest, ob- *' not representatives. This was a 
tained his good word ; and it would " nicety in acting that none but 
be difficult to give a better instance, ** the most subtle player could so 
in a few lines, at once of his kindness *' much as conceive." 
and his genius as a critic of players, ^ This was on Monday the 16th 
than by what he says of a small of January 1709-10, Mr. Bickerstaff 
actor of Betterton's time: "Mr. having gravely promised in Satu^- 
* ' William Peer distinguished him- day's Tatler, in reply to a letter 
** self particularly in two charac- from Doggett saying it would bring 
** ters, which no man ever could him the greatest house since the 
'* touch but himself. One of them visit of the Morocco ambassador, 
"was the speaker of the pro- that he'd come in between the first 
" logue to the play which is con- and second act of Love for Love 
" trived in the tragedy of Hamlet, (pleased at his choice, he told him, 
"to awake the conscience of the of so excellent a play, and looking 
" guilty princess, Mr. William on him as the best of comedians), 
*' Peer spoke that preface to the and would remain in the R. H. box 
* ' play with such an air as repre- over the pit until the end of the 
" sented that he was an actor ; and fourth act. The applause at the 
" with such au inferior manner as fictitious Isaac's appearance was 
" only acting an actor, that the tremendous. 

B 2 


success as a speaker, lie took part in the debates. To 
judge from his criticism on orators, one might suppose 
himself to have been a proficient in the art ; and he was 
doubtless more than an average speaker. He knew how 
to avoid, at any rate, what he points out as a great error 
committed by the speakers of his day, in confounding 
oratory with passion, and thinking the si vis me flere as 
applicable in the one as in the other case. If any man 
would exert an uncontrolled influence over those who 
listen to him, said Steele, never let him lose control over 
himself. This was no great period for oratory, however. 
No successor had yet appeared to Henry St. John in the 
Commons, nor even to Eobert Harley. ; Steele wittily 
described the House, at the time, as consisting very much 
of silent people oppressed by the choice of a great deal to 
say, and of eloquent people ignorant that what they said 
was nothing to the purpose ; and as it was, he tells us, his 
own ambition to speak only what he thought, so it wai 
his weakness to think such a course might have its use 
Undoubtedly such a course he did absolutely take ; no^ 
does he at any time seem, out of deference to party or 
its prejudices, to have compmmised a single opinion 
sincerely entertained by him„^ 

^- He attacked every attempt to give power to the Church 
independent of the State ; he held that all eagerness in 
clergymen to grasp at exorbitant power, was but popery 
in another form ; * and he created much ofi'ence by declar- 
ing that, if Eome pretended to be infallible and England 

^ A further remark made by him ** ciety ; and (what was the most 

in the course of this argument is " melancholy part of the whole) 

well worth attention and reflection ' ' that Protestants " (he is speaking 

in the present day. **I am now of the extreme High Church party) 

" brought," he says, " by the natu- ' ' must be reduced to the absurdity 

" ral course of such thoughts, to "of renouncing Protestant as well 

" examine into the conduct of Chris- "as Christian Principles, before 

" tians, and particularly of Protest- "they can pretend to make their 

" ants of all sorts. One thing drew "practices and their professions 

" on another: and. as little conversant "consistent. This I resolved to 

" as I have heretofore been in such " represent ; and have done it, 

"matters, I quickly found that " without regard to any one sort of 

" Christianity was neither unintel- " them more than another. lam 

" ligible, nor ill-natured ; that the " mox-e and more persuaded, every 

" Gospel does not invade the rights " day, that it is fitting to under- 

** of mankind, nor invest any men "stand Religion, as well as to 

" with authority destructive to so- " praise it." 

Steele.'^ caheer as a politician. 245 

to be always in the right, lie saw little difference between 
the two// In his prosperity Harley had no assailant more 
bitter, and in his adversity no more generous opponent, 
than Steele. ''I transgressed, my lord, against you," 
he said, " when you could make twelve peers in a day ; I 
" ask your pardon when you are a private nobleman." 
As he had fought the Schism bill under the Tories, under 
the Whigs he pleaded for toleration to the Eoman Catho- 
lics. " I suppose this," he wrote to his wife, " gave a 
" handle to the fame of my being a Tory ; but you may 
" perhaps by this time have heard that I am turned Pres- 
" byterian, for the same day, in a meeting of a hundred 
" parKament-me^, I laboured as much for the Protestant 
" Dissenters. '^^0 man was so bitter against the Jacobites, 
as long as any chance of their success remained ; but none 
so often or so successfully interceded on their behalf for 
mercy, when the day had gone against them^The mis- 
chief of the South Sea scheme was by Steelie more than 
any man exposed ; but, for such of the Directors as had 
themselves been its dupes, no man afterwards spoke so 
charitably. Walpole had befriended him most on the 
question of his expulsion, and he admired him more than 
any other politician ; yet he alone in the House spoke 
against Walpole's proposition about the Debt, " because 
" he did not think the way of doing it just." Addison 
was the man he to the last admired the most, and, not- 
withstanding any recurring coolness or difference, loved 
the most on earth ; but, on the question of Lord Sunder- 
land's Peerage bill, he joined Walpole against Addison, 
and with tongue and pen so actively promoted the defeat 
of that mischievous measure, that we may even yet, on 
this score, hold ourselves to be his debtors. 

To this rapid sketch of Steele's career as a politician, 
it might seem superfluous to add his complaint against 
those who neglected him, or that, when the Duke of 
Newcastle had been so mean as to punish his opposition 
to the Peerage bill by depriving him of his Drury-lane 
appointment (to which, we may interpose, he was restored 
as soon as Walpole returned to office), he should thus 
have written to Lady Steele : " I am talking to my wife, 
" and therefore may speak my heart, and the vanity of it. 
'* I know, and you are witness, that I have served the 

?i46 DULL MR. WILLIAM WHisTON. \_Sir Richmd 

" Eoyal Family witli an nnreservedness due only to 
" Heaven ; and I am now (I thank my brother Whigs) 
" not possessed of twenty shillings from the favour of the 
" Court." But neither should we attempt to conceal, that 
a man of a different temperament and more self-control 
would hardly at this time, after all the opportunities his 
own genius had opened to him, have needed the exercise, 
or have complained of the absence, of such " favour." 

So it was, however ; and we must take the man even as 
he was, subject to all the remarks which duller men in 
his own day, or greater men since, may have thought 
themselves entitled to make upon him. Such remarks do 
not then seem to have troubled him very much, and per- 
haps his reputation may survive them now. On the day 
after his speech in the House of Commons interceding for 
mercy to the South Sea Directors, Mr. William Whiston, 
for whom also he had interceded formerly when in straits 
hardly less difficult, met him at Button's. " Why, Sir 
" Richard," said the worthy man, " they say you have 
" been making a speech in the House for the South Sea 
" directors." " Well," said he quietly, " they do say so." 
To which Whiston, who confesses that he had been a little 
nettled personally some time before by a ludicrous remark 
of Sir Richard's, made the somewhat illogical reply, 
" Then how does this agree with your former writing 
" against the scheme ? " " Mr. Whiston," rejoined 
Steele, " you can walk on foot, and I can not." Of 
course the dull man tells the anecdote by way of showing 
that Steele could change his opinions for his interest, but 
that is not the construction any well-informed reader will 
put upon it. To look after his own interest at any time, 
was the very last thing Steele ever thought of doing ; and 
as to the matter in question, it was notorious that in 
speaking for Lord Stanhope and the other misguided 
men, he discharged himself only of a debt of kindness that 
could have no effect, save such as might be unfavour- 
able, upon his own fortune. It was simply his wit 
and good breeding that politely had declined debate, 
and left Mr. Whiston in the enjoyment of his own sordid 

Very far indeed from such admission as any such fancy 
would father on him, that he owed to the ministers the 

Steele. '\ treatment by the whigs. 247 

coach lie rode in, are those repeated complaints, at this 
very time, of the utter absence of all ministers' favours, 
which might more wisely perhaps, with a little dignity 
and self-denial, have been spared. This we have already 
said, though we will^ot say that the complaints were 
altogether unjust. The Whigs treated Steele badly. 
They never sufficiently remembered the actual service he 
had rendered them, and their cause, when actual danger 
was abroad.^ Nor was he without ample justification for 
the statement he left on record against them, in his Apo- 
logue of the husbandman and the bridge ; with which the 
subject may be left, also in these pages. There was, he 
said, a certain husbandman in a certain kingdom, who 
lived in a certain place under a certain hill, near a certain 
bridge. This poor man was a little of a scholar, being 
given to country learning, such as astrological predictions 
of the weather, and the like ; and one night, in one of 
those musings of his about his house, he saw a party of 
soldiers belonging to a prince in enmity with his own, 
coming towards the bridge. Off he immediately ran, and 
drew up that part which is called the draw-bridge. Then, 
calling his family, and getting his cattle together, he put 
forward his plough, behind that his stools, and his chairs 
behind them ; and by this means stopped the march till 
it was day-Hght, when all the neighbouring lords and 
gentlemen, being roused by this time and thoroughly 
waked from sleep, were able to see the enemy as well as 
he. Hereupon, with undoubted gallantry and spirit, 
they crowded on to oppose the foe, and in their zeal and 
hurry, pitching our poor husbandman over-bridge, and 
his goods after him, they most effectually kept out the 
invaders. And a great mercy was that accident, for it 
was nothing less than the safety of the kingdom. There- 
fore ought no one, pursues the author of the Apologue, 
to be discomfited from the public service, by what had 
happened to this rustic. For, though he was neglected 
at the present, and every man said he was an honest 
fellow and no one's enemy but his own in exposing his 
all, and though nobody said he was every one's friend but 
his own, still the man had ever after the liberty, the in- 
valuable liberty and privilege, that he, and no other but 
he and his family, should beg on the bridge in aU times 

248 everyone's friend but his own. \_Sir Richard 

following. And lie is begging on the bridge accordingly 
to this very hour. 

It is not our desire to extenuate the failings of Sir 
Richard Steele, the begging on the bridge included; 
nor have we sought to omit them from this picture of 
his career. But his claim to have had more liberal con- 
sideration, is quite apart from the question of whether 
he would himself have been likely very greatly to profit 
by it. We much doubt if he would. His genius, and 
the means then open to it, might have sufficed for all his 
wants, if in a worldly sense he could have been more true 
to his own opportunities. But it was unhappily of the 
very essence of his character, that any present social 
impression took, so far, the place of all previous moral 
resolutions; and that, bitterly as he had often felt the 
" shot of accident and the dart of chance," he still 
thought them carelessly to be brushed aside by the smiling 
face and heedless hand. No man's projects for fortune 
had so often failed, yet none were so often renewed. 
Indeed the very art of his genius told against him in his 
life ; and that he could so readily disentangle his thoughts 
from what most gave them pain and uneasiness, and 
direct his sensibility at will to flow into many channels, 
had the reverse of a favouring tendency towards the 
balance at his banker's. But such a man is no example 
of improvidence for others. Its ordinary warnings come 
within quite another class of cases ; and, even in stating 
what is least to be commended in Steele, there is no need 
to omit what in his case will justify some exceptional 
consideration of it. At least we have the example of 
a bishop to quote, for as much good nature as we can spare. 

Doctor Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, was a steady friend 
of Steele's, and consented ultimately to act as executor 
and guardian to his children. He accompanied him and 
Addison one day to a Whig celebration of King William's 
anniversary, and became rather grave to see the lengths 
at which the festivity threatened to arrive. In the midst 
of his misgivings, in came a humble but facetious Whig 
on his knees, with a tankard of ale in his hand; drank it 
off to the immortal memory; and tben, still in his kneeling 
posture, managed to shuffle out. " Do laugh," whispered 
Steele to the bishop, next to whom he sat, ** it's humanity 

Steele.'] blenheim and grub street. 249 

" to laugh." For which, humane episcopal exertion, 
carried to a yet higher tolerance in his own case at a later 
period of the evening, Steele sent him next morning this 
pleasant couplet, 

" Virtue with so much ease on Bangor sits, 
All faults he pardons, though he none commits." 

In another humorous anecdote of this date, Hoadly was 
also an actor with Steele. They went together on a visit 
to Blenheim, and sat next each other at a private play got 
up for the amusement of the great Duke, now lapsing into 
his last illness ; when, as they both observed how well a 
love-scene was acted by the Duke's aide-de-camp, Captain 
Fishe, " I doubt this fish is flesh, my Lord," whispered 
Steele. On going away, they had to pass through an 
army of laced coats and ruffles in the hall ; and as the 
Bishop was preparing the usual fees, " I have not 
" enough," cried his companion, and much to the episcopal 
discomposure proceeded to address the footmen, told them 
he had been much struck by the good taste with which 
he had seen them applauding in the right places up 
stairs, and invited them all gratis to Drury-lane theatre, 
to whatever play they might like to bespeak. 

At this date it was, too, that young Savage, for whom 
Wilks had produced a comedy at Drury-lane, was kindly 
noticed and greatly assisted by Steele ; though all the 
stories of him that were afterwards told to Johnson by 
his ill-fated friend, only showed how sorely poor Sir 
Richard needed assistance himself. He surprised Savage 
one day by carrying him in his coach to a tavern, and 
dictating a pamphlet to him, which he was sent out 
into Grub-street to sell ; when he found that Sir Richard 
had only retired for the day to avoid his creditors, and 
had composed the pamphlet to pay his reckoning. 
Johnson also beHeved, on the same authority, that at 
one of Steele's great dinner parties he had been obhged 
to dress up in expensive liveries, and to turn to use as 
additional footmen, certain bailiffs whose attendance, 
though unavoidable, might not else have seemed so 
creditable.' It was from Savage, too, Johnson heard the 

^ "I have heard," says the Ex- *' lustrious person who having a 
aminer (No. 11), " of a certain il- " guard du corps that forced their 


story of the bond put in execution against his friend by 
Addison, which Steele mentioned, he said, with tears in 
his eyes. Not so, however, did Steele tell it to another 
friend, Benjamin Yictor, who, before Savage's relation 
was made public, had told it again to Garrick. To Yictor, 
Steele said that certainly his bond on some expensive 
furniture had been put in force ; but that, from the letter 
he received with the surplus arising from the sale, he 
knew that Addison only intended a friendly warning 
against a manner of living altogether too costly, and that, 
taking it as he believed it to be meant, he met him 
afterwards with the same gaiety of temper he had always 

This story is not incredible, we think ; and to invent, 
as Mr. Macaulay has done, another story in place of one 
so well authenticated, involved at least some waste of 
ingenuity. One may fairly imagine such an incident 
following not long after the accession of King George, 
when, in his new house in York-buildings, Steele gave an 
extravagant entertainment to some couple of hundred 
friends, and amused his guests with a series of dramatic 
recitations, which (one of his many projects) he had some 
thought of trying on an extended plan, with a view to the 
more regular supply of trained actors for the stage. For, 
though Addison assisted at this entertainment, and even 
wrote an epilogue ^ for the occasion making pleasant mirth 
of the foibles of his friend — 

*^\ The Sage, whose guests you are to-night, is known 
To watch the public weal, though not his own, " &c. / 

— nay, though we can hardly doubt that he showed no 
reluctance himself to partake of the burgundy and 
champagne, Addison may yet have thought it no un- 
friendly act to check the danger of any frequent repetition 
of indulgences in that direction. And, even apart from 

* ' attendance upon him, put them but it was certainly written by Ad- 

'* into livery, and maintained them dison, as the lines themselves bear 

** as his servants : thus answering internal proof. It was first printed, 

** that famous question, Quis custo- and with Addison's name, in the 

*^clietipso8custodes?'' eighth volume of that now rare 

^ Doctor Drake attributed this book, Nichols's Select Collection of 

epilogue to Steele himself, and has Poems. 
been followed by subsequent writers; 

Steele.'^ girls and boys. 251 

the nights they now very frequently passed together 
at Button's new coffee-house, we have abundant evidence 
that the friendly relations, though certainly not all the 
old intimacy, continued. <0n the day following that which 
Kfted Addison to the rank of Secretary of State, Steele 
dined with him ; and on the next day he wrote to his 
wife, that he was named one of the Commissioners for 
Forfeited Estates in Scotland./^ 

The duties of this office took him much from home in 
his latter years ; and, before we close "vvith the brief 
mention those years may claim from us, we will give a 
parting glance at what his home had now become. For 
the greater part of the time since he moved from Bury- 
street, he has lived in Bloomsbury-square. His wife has 
borne him four children, two boys and two girls, of whom 
the eldest boy, Richard, Lord Halifax's godson, died in 
childhood, and the second, Eugene, a few years before 
his father. His girls survived him, and the eldest became 
Lady Trevor. The old sudden alternations of sunshine 
and storm have continued between himself and Prue. 
There have been great wants and great enjoyments, 
much peevishness and much tenderness, quarrels and 
reconciliations numberless ; but very manifestly also, 
on the whole, the children have brought them nearer 
to each other. He is no longer his dearest Prue's 
alone, but, as he occasionally signs himself, "Your — 
" Betty — Dick — Eugene — Molly's — affectionate Richard 
" Steele." At his own request, his wife's small fortune has 
been settled on these children ; and one of her letters to 
him, upon the result of this arrangement with her mother, 
appears to have begun with the expression of her thank- 
fulness that the children would at least have to say 
hereafter of their father that he kept his integrity. He 
gives her iacessant reports of them, when she happens to 
be absent. He tells her how Moll, who is the noisiest 
little creature in the world, and as active as a boy, 
has bid him let her know she fell down just now, 
and did not hurt herself; how Madam Betty is the 
gravest of matrons in her airs and civilities ; how Eugene 
is a most beautiful and lusty child ; and how Dick is 
becoming a great scholar, for whenever his father's Virgil 
is shown him he makes shrewd remarks upon the 

253 LAST LETTERS TO PRUE. [5/> Richard 

pictures. In that same letter he. calls her his "poor, 
*' dear, angry, pleased, pretty, witty, silly, everything 
" Prue ; " and he has never failed, through all these 
years, to send her the tenderest words on the most trivial 
occasions. He writes to her on his way to the Kit-Katt, 
in waiting on my Lord Wharton or the Duke of Newcastle. 
He coaxes her to dress well for the dinner, to which he 
has invited the Mayor of Stockbridge, Lord Halifax, and 
Mr. Addison. He writes to her in the brief momentous 
interval, when, having made his defence in the House of 
Commons, he was waiting for the final judgment which 
Addison was to convey to him. He writes to her when 
he has the honour of being received at dinner by Lord 
Somers ; and he writes to her from among the " dancing, 
*' singing, hooping, hallooing, and drinking " of one of 
his elections for Boroughbridge. He sends a special 
despatch to her for no other purpose than to tell her she 
has nothing to do but be a darling. He sends her as 
many as a dozen letters in the course of his journey to 
Edinburgh ; and when, on his return, illness keeps them 
apart, one in London, the other at Hampton-court, her 
happening to call him Good Dick puts him in so much 
rapture, that he tells her he could almost forget his 
miserable gout and lameness, and walk down to her. 
Not long after this, her illness terminated fatally. She 
died on the morrow of the Christmas Day of 1718. 

Of the remaining ten years of his own subsequent life, 
many of both the private and public incidents of which 
have already been mentioned by anticipation, the occur- 
rences of the greatest interest were his controversy with 
Addison on the Peerage bill, where we hold him, as we 
have already said, to have had much the advantage of 
his adversary in both his reasoning and conclusions ; and 
the production of his comedy of the Conscious Lovers, the 
most carefully written and the most successful, though in 
our opinion, with much respect for that of Parson Adams 
(who thought it as good as a sermon), not the best of his 
comedies. Of the projects that also occupied him in this 
interval, especially that of his fish-pool invention, we have 
nothing to say, but that Addison, who certainly did not 
sneer at him in the " little Dicky" of the second Old 
Whig, ought to have spared him, not less, the sneer in 

Sleek. 'I DEATH. 253 

tliat pampUet at his " stagnated pool.'' Steele did not 
retort, however, with anything more personal than an 
admiring quotation from Cato ; and his Plebeian forms in 
this respect no contrast to the uniform tone in which he 
spoke of his friend, with whom his transient difference 
would assuredly soon have heen composed if another year 
of life had been spared to Addison. But his children 
were Steele's greatest solicitude, as well as chief delight, 
in these latter years ; and, amid failing health and grow- 
ing infirmities, he is never tired of superintending their 
lessons, or of writing them gay and entertaining letters, 
as from friend or playfellow. After three years' retire- 
ment in Wales, attended by his two little daughters, he 
died there at the age of fifty-three. 

He had survived much, but neither his cheerful temper 
nor his kind philosophy. He would be carried out in a 
summer's evening, where the country lads and lasses were 
at their rural sports, and with his pencil give an order on 
his agent for a new gown to the best dancer. That was 
the last thing seen of Eichard Steele. And the youths 
and maidens who so saw him in his invalid chair, en- 
feebled and dying, saw him still as the wits and fine ladies 
and gentlemen had seen him in his gaiety and^youth, 
when he sat in the chair of Mr. Bickerstafi", treating 
pleasure for himself by the communication of pleasure to 
others, and in proportion to the happiness he distributed 

increasing his own. . 




The Poetical Works of Charles Churchill. With Copious Notes, and a Life 
of the Author. Bij W. Tooke, F.E.S. 3 vols. 12mo. London : 1844. 

Mr. William Tooke sets us a bad example in his 
" copious notes," ^ which, we do not propose to follow. 
Our business is with Churchill ; and not with the London 
University, or with the Society for the Diffusion of 
Useful Knowledge, or with the Reform Bill, or with the 
Penny Postage Bill, or with the Dissenters' Marriage Act, 
or with the Whigs in general, or with Lord Campbell in 
particular, or with the Popish Ascendency, or with the 
voters of Metropolitan Boroughs, or with the members 

From the Edinburgh Review, January 1845. With additions. 

2 The common tendency of re- 
marks upon individuals is to the too 
free, indulgence either of blame or 
praise ; and what is here said of 
Mr. Tooke does not altogether, I 
fear, escape this reproach. No one 
who examines the book under review, 
however, will say that the remarks 
in the Essay were unprovoked or 
without ample justification. Still 
I would gladly now have omitted 
them, if I could have done so with- 
out leaving uncorrected much grave 
error, or without exposing to pos- 
sible misrepresentation hereafter 
both the matter and the motive of 
them. So long, however, as Mr. 
Tooke's "Copious Notes" of unpro- 

voked and unscrupulous personal 
attack, continue to disfigure what 
might easily have been made the 
best edition of a true English poet, 
their writer can have no good cause 
of complaint. I should add that 
the quotations in these pages from 
Churchill's Poetry and Satire, have 
not been taken from Mr. Tooke's 
volumes, but from the edition of 
the Poems (the third) issued in 
1766 by the poet's brother and 
executor, John Churchill. The 
Fragment of a Dedication to War- 
hurton is of later date, being the 
only composition of Churchill's not 
published until after his death. 

25 G A DEAD HAND AT A LIFE. [^C/iavks 

who represent tliem in Parliament. There are many- 
reasons why Mr. Tooke should not have named these 
things, far less have gone out of his way so lavishly to 
indulge his contempt and abuse of them ; but we shall 
content ourselves with mentioning one. If the editorial 
pains bestowed upon them had been given to his author, 
we should probably not have had the task, which, be- 
fore we speak of Churchill, we shall discharge as briefly 
as we may, of pointing out his editorial deficiencies. 

It would be difficult to imagine a worse biographer than 
Mr. Tooke. As Dr. Johnson said of his friend Tom 
Birch, he is " a dead hand at a Life.'' Nor is he a more 
lively hand at a Note. In both cases he compiles with 
singular clumsiness, and his compilations are not always 
harmless. But, though Mr. Tooke is a bad biographer 
and a bad annotator, he is a far worse critic. 

If it were true, as he says, that "the character of 
" Churchill as a poet, may be considered as fixed in the 
" first rank of English classics" (i. xiii), we should have 
to place him with Shakespeare and Milton, in the rank 
above Dryden and Pope. If the Rosciad were really, as 
Mr. Tooke thinks, remarkable for its " strength of imagi- 
*' nation " (i. xxxiv), we should have to depose it from its 
place beside the Dimciads, and think of it with the Para- 
dise Losts. And indeed we shall be well disposed to do 
this, when Mr. Tooke establishes the critical opinion he 
adopts from poor Dr. Anderson, that the Cure of Saul, a 
sacred ode by Dr. Brown, " ranks with the most distin- 
" guished lyric compositions'' (iii. 302). 

This Dr. Brown, the author of the flat tragedy of Bar- 
harossa, and a vain, silly, impracticable person, is described 
by Mr. Tooke to have been " a far wiser and better man 
" than Jeremy Bentham" (iii. 109) ; whose " always 
" mischievous, but happily not always intelligible, gib- 
" berish," is in a previous passage ranked with " the 
" coarse blasphemy of Richard Carlyle" (iii. 107). It is 
in the same discriminating taste we are told, after this, 
that Dr. Francklin's Translation of Sophocles is " a bold 
" and happy transfusion into the English language of the 
" terrible' simplicity of the Greek tragedian " (iii. 298) ; 
— poor Dr. Francklin being as much hke the terrible 
simplicity of the Greeks, as Mr. Tooke resembles Aris- 

Churchill.'] a worthy task ill-done. 257 

tides, or an English schoolmaster is like the Phidian 

The reader will not suppose that Mr. Tooke, a wealthy 
and respectable solicitor of long standing, and a gentle- 
man who appears to have been really anxious to do good 
after his peculiar fashion, has not had ample time to set 
himself right on these points, when we mention the fact 
of his first appearance as Churchill's editor no fewer 
than forty years ago. Forty years ago, when he was in 
the flush of youth, and George the Third was King, he 
aspired to connect himself with the great satirist. AYhat 
turned his thoughts that way, from the " quiddets and 
" quillets, and cases and tenures and tricks '' that sur- 
rounded him in his daily studies, he has not informed us. 
But, among his actions of scandal and battery, the echo 
of Churchill's rough and manly voice was in that day 
lingering still ; and an aspiring young follower of the law 
could hardly more agreeably indulge a taste for letters, 
than among the mangled and still bleeding reputations of 
the Duellist, the Candidate, and the Ghost. We have 
yet reason to complain, that he did not improve this taste 
with some little literary knowledge. In his notes to his 
favourite satirist he has drawn together, no doubt, a 
great mass of information ; which cannot, however, be in 
any manner useful except to those who know better than 
himself, not only how to select what is of any worth in it, 
but how to reject what is utterly worthless : and unhap- 
pily, where it is not matter of fact but of opinion, even 
this chance is not left to them. 

Whether he praises or blames, Mr. Tooke has the rare 
felicity of never making a criticism that is not a mistake. 
Nothing of this kind, committed forty years back, has he 
cared to correct ; and' every new note added, has added 
something to the stock of blunders. He cannot even 
praise in the right place, when he has such a man as Dr. 
Garth to praise. Garth was an exquisite creature ; a real 
wit, a gentleman, a friend, a physician, a philosopher ; and 
yet his Satire was not "admirable," nor his Claremont 
" above mediocrity," nor his Translations from Ovid 
" spirited and faithful " (iii. 16-17). In an earHer page, 
Mr. Tooke has occasion to refer to the writer of a par- 
ticular panegyric, whom he calls Conyngham (ii. 317). 


This exemplifies anotlier and abundant class of mistakes 
in his volumes. The writer was Codrington, and the lines 
were addressed to Garth on his Dispensary. Mr. Tooke 
has to speak of the two Doctors William King ; and he 
attributes the well-known three octavos of the King of St. 
Mary's-hall to the King of Christ-church (iii. 173). He 
has to speak of Bishop Parker, Marvell's antagonist, and 
lie calls him Archbishop Parker (ii. 171) ; a singularly- 
different person. He condemns Churchill for his public 
appearance in a theatre with a celebrated courtesan, whom 
his next sentence, if correct, would prove to have been a 
venerable lady of between eighty and ninety years old 
(i. 47) ; — the verses quoted having been written sixty-three 
years before, to the Venus of a past generation. If an 
anecdote has a point, he misses it ; and if a question has 
two sides, he takes the wrong one. He gravely charges 
the old traveller Mandeville mth wilful want of veracity, 
and with having " observed in a high northern latitude 
"the singular phenomenon of the congelation of words 
" as they issued from the mouth, and the strange medley 
" of sounds that ensued upon a thaw" (ii. 76) : — vulgar 
errors, we need hardly say. Sir John Mandeville wrote 
conscientiously, according to the lights of his times ; and 
qualifies his marvellous relations as reports. The con- 
gelation of words was a pure invention of Addison's, 
palmed off upon the old traveller. 

In matters more closely connected with his subject, Mr. 
Tooke is not more sparing of errors and self-contradic- 
tions. He confounds Davies, the actor and bookseller — 
Johnson's friend, Garrick's biographer, and a reasonably 
correct as well as fairly informed writer — with Davis, an 
actor not only much lower in the scale than Davies, but 
remembered only by the letter Mr. Tooke has printed 
(i. 36-7). He tells us, with amazing particularity, that 
" Churchill's brother John survived him little more than 
" one year, dying, after a week's illness only, on the 18th 
" November 1765." (i.'lvi) : the truth being that John, 
who was a surgeon- apothecary in Westminster, survived 
his brother many years ; published, in the character of 
his executor, the fifth collected edition of his works as late 
as 1774 ; and was recommending the use of bark to Wilkes, 
whose medical attendant he became, as late as 1778. In 

ChurchilL'\ self-contradictions. 259 

one place he says that he, Mr. Tooke, has endeavoured, 
without success, to ascertain the truth of a statement that 
Churchill had a curacy in Wales, and became bankrupt 
in cider speculations there ; suppositions which, unable to 
substantiate, he rejects (i. xxv). Yet in another place 
he speaks, without a doubt, of Churchill's " flight from 
" his curacy in Wales" (iii. 28) ; and in a third, tells us 
decisively that Churchill's " own failure in trade as a 
" cider- dealer," had ^' tinctured him mth a strong and 
" unfounded prejudice " against the merchants of London 
(ii. 318). At one time he relates a story of Churchill's 
having incurred a repulse at Oxford, on account of alleged 
deficiency in the classics, to acquaint us that it "is ob- 
" viously incorrect" (i. xxi). At another, he informs us 
that " the poet's antipathy to colleges may be dated from 
" his rejection by the University of Oxford, on account of 
" his want of a competent skill in the learned languages" 
(ii. 227). No opportunity of self-contradiction is too 
minute to be lost. Now he says that the price of the 
Rosciad was half-a-crown (i. 114), and now that it was 
but " the moderate price of one shilling " (ii. 167). Now 
that Lord Temple resigned in 1761 (i. 170), and now 
that the resignation was in 1762 (ii. 29). Now that the 
Apology was published in April 1761 (i. 115), and, six 
pages later (i. 121), that it was published in May of that 
year. Now that Churchill's Sermons were twelve in 
number (i. xxvi), and now, quoting Dr. Kippis, that they 
were ten (iii. 318). These instances, sparingly selected 
from a lavish abundance, will probably suffice. 

We shall be equally sparing of more general examples 
that remain. Mr. Tooke, as the character of this literary 
performance would imply, has no deficiency on the score 
of boldness. Thus, while he thinks that " the Rev. 
" Doctor Croly, in his classical and beautiful play of 
" Catiline^ has at once shown what a good tragedy should 
" be, and that he is fully equal to the task of producing 
" one" (ii. 297), he has an utter contempt for the Words - 
worths and Coleridges. " What language," he indignantly 
exclaims, before giving a specimen of the latter poet in a 
lucid interval, " could the satirist have found sufficiently 
" expressive of his disgust at the simplicity of a later 
" school of poetry, the spawn of the lakes, consisting of 

s 2 


" a mawkisli combination of the nonsense verses of the 
*' nursery, with the Rhodomontade of German mysticism 
" and transcendentahsm ! " (i. 189). This is a Httle 
strong, for a writer like Mr. Tooke. Nor, making but 
one exception in the case of Lord Byron, does he shrink 
from pouring the vials of his critical wrath upon every 
Lord who has presumed to aspire to poetry. Not the 
gentle genius of Lord Surrey, or the daring passion of 
Lord Buckhurst ; not the sharp wit of my Lords Rochester 
and Buckingham, or the earnestness and elegance of Lord 
Thurlow; can shake the fierce poetical democracy of 
Mr. William Tooke. " The claim of the whole lot of 
" other noble poets," he observes with great contempt, 
" from Lord Surrey downwards — the Buckinghams, the 
*' Roscommons, the Halifaxes, the Grenvilles, the Lyttle- 
^' tons of the last age, and the still minor class of Thur- 
" lows, Herberts, and others of the present generation, 
" have been tolerated as poets, only because they were 
" peers.'' (iii. 262.) 

A contempt of grammar, as of nobility, may be observed 
to relieve the sense and the elegance of this passage. 
But this is a department of Mr. Tooke's merits too ex- 
tensive to enter upon. When he talks of " a masterly 
" but caustic satire" (i. xl), and of " plunging deeper and 
" more irrecoverably into," &c. (i. xli), we do not stop to 
ask what he can possibly mean. But his use of the pre- 
positions and conjunctions is really curious. His " and 
" to which we would refer our readers accordingly, and 
" to whose thanks we shall entitle ourselves for so doing" 
(iiL 157) ; his " and from which but Httle information 
" could be collected, he was at the same time confident 
" that none others existed, and which the lapse of time 
" has confirmed " (iii. 296) ; are of perpetual recurrence 
in the shape of and who, or but which, and may be said to 
form the pecuHarity of his style. On even Mr. Picker- 
ing's Aldine press, a genius of blundering has laid its evil 
touch. The errors in the printing of the book are exe- 
crable. Not a page is correctly pointed from first to last ; 
numbers of lines in the text (as at iii. 216-17) are placed 
out of their order ; and it is rare when a name is rightly 
given. But enough of a distasteful subject. We leave 
Mn Tooke and pass to Churchill. 

Churchill.'] two races of men. 261 

Exactly a hundred years after the birth of Dryden, 
Charles Churchill was bom. More than a hundred years 
were between the two races of men. In 1631, Hampden 
was consoling Eliot in his prison, and discussing with 
Pym the outraged Petition of Right ; in 1731, Walpole 
was fl}ing at Townshend's throat, and suggesting to Gay 
the quarrels of Lockit and Peachum. Within the reach 
of Dryden's praise and blame, there came a Cromwell 
and a Shaftesbury ; a Wilkes and a Sandmch exhausted 
Churchill's. There is more to affect a writer's genius in 
personal and local influences of this kind, than he would 
himself be willing to allow. If, even in the failures of the 
first and greatest of these satirists, there is a dash of large- 
ness and power ; there is never wholly absent from the 
most consummate achievements of his successor, a some- 
thing we must call conventional. But the right justice 
has not been done to Churchill. Taken with the good 
and evil of his age, he was a very remarkable person. 

An English clergyman, who, in conjunction with his 
rectory of Rainham in Essex, held the curacy and lecture- 
ship of St. John the Evangelist in Westminster, from 
1733 to his death in 1758, was the father of Charles 
Churchill. He had two younger sons : William, who 
afterwards chose the church for his profession, and passed 
a long, quiet, unobtrusive life within it ; and John, 
brought up to the business of medicine. The elder, 
named Charles after himself, he from the first especially 
designed for his own calling ; and he sent him in 1739, 
when eight years old, as a day-boy to Westminster 
school. Nichols was then the head master, and the 
second master was (not Lloyd, as Mr. Tooke would in- 
form us, but) Johnson, afterwards a bishop. Vincent 
Bourne was usher of the fifth form, and Dr. Pierson 
Lloyd (after some years second master), a man of fine 
humour as well as of rare worth and learning, was usher 
at the fourth. Churchill, judging from the earliest notice 
taken of him, must have been already a robust, manly, 
broad-faced little fellow, when he entered the school ; all 
who in later life remembered him, spoke of the premature 
growth and fulness both of his body and mind ; ' and 

1 Mr. Cunningham has sent me a Rosciad with a MS note by Sir John 
copy of the seventh edition of the Cullum respecting the opinion enter- 


he was not long in assuming the place in Ms boys' circle, 
which, quick-sighted lads are not slow to concede to a 
deserving and daring claimant. He was fond of play ; 
but, when he turned to work, was a hard and a successful 
worker. There is a story of one of his punishments by 
flogging, which only increased and embittered the temper 
that provoked it ; but there is another, of a literary task 
by way of punishment, for which the offender received 
public thanks from the masters of the school. " He 
" could do well if he would," was the admission of his 
enemies ; and the good Dr. Lloyd loved him. 

There were a number of remarkable boys at West- 
minster then. Bonnell Thornton was already in the 
upper forms ; but George Colman, Kobert Lloyd, Rich- 
ard Cumberland, and Warren Hastings, were all, with 
very few years' interval, Churchiirs contemporaries ; and 
there was one mild, shrinking, delicate lad of his own 
age, though two years younger in the school, afraid to 
lift his eyes above the shoestrings of the upper boys, but 
encouraged to raise them as high as Churchill's heart. 
He stood by Cowper in those days ; and the author of 
the Task and the Talle-Talk repaid him in a sorer need. 
Indeed, there was altogether a manly tone of feeling 
among these Westminster scholars. In whatever respect 
they fell short of any promises of their youth, when they 
grew to manhood, they yet continued true to all that in 
those earlier days had pledged them to each other. Never, 
save when two examples occurred too flagrant for avoid- 
ance, in a profligate duke and a hypocritical parson, did 
Churchill lift his pen against a schoolfellow. Mr. Tooke 
says that the commencement of a satire against Thornton 
and Colman was found among his papers ; but there is no 
proof of this ; and we doubt, in common with Southey, the 

tained of its author by Sir John's * ' told me that Churchill when a 

Suffolk neighbour, and Churchill's " boy never showed the faintest 

old schoolfellow, Lord Bristol, which " glimmer of genius. May 1781." 

is somewhat opposed to that in the Sir John is mistaken as to the age 

text. ** This excellent poem," says of Churchill, who was only nine-and- 

Sir John, " was one of the earliest, twenty at the production of the 

** if not the first production of the Rosciad, and there will perhaps be 

"author, who was now about 37 no great harm in assuming that Lord 

*' years old. He was of the same Bristol was not much more correct 

" class at Westminster School with in his boyish recollection of his cele- 

** Frederick Earl of Bristol, who brated schoolfellow. 

Churchill.'] a profession ill-chosen. 263 

alleged desertion of poor Lloyd which is said to have sug- 
gested the satire. Even Warren Hastings profited hy his 
old connexion with Westminster, when Wilkes deserted 
his supporters in the House of Commons to defend the 
playfellow of his dead friend ; and the irritahle Cumher- 
land so warmed to the memory of his school companion, 
as to call him always, fondly, the Dryden of his age. 

Literature itself had become a bond of union with these 
youths before they left the Westminster cloisters. The 
Tahle-Talk tells of the " little poets at Westminster,'' and 
how they strive "to set a distich upon six and five." 
Even the boredom of school exercises, more rife in Eng- 
lish composition then than since, did not check the scrib- 
bling propensity. All the lads we have named had a 
decisive turn that way ; and little Colman, emulating his 
betters, addressed his cousin Pulteney from the fifth form 
with the air of a literary veteran. For, in the prevailing 
dearth of great poetry, verse- writing was cultivated much, 
and much encouraged. Again it had become, as Lady 
Mary Montagu said of it a few years before, as common 
as taking snuff. Others compared it to an epidemical dis- 
temper — a sort of murrain. Beyond all doubt, it was the 
rage. " Poets increase and multiply to that stupendous 
" degree, you see them at every turn, in embroidered 
" coats, and pink-coloured top-knots." Nor was it pro- 
bable, as to Churchill himself, that he thought the dress 
less attractive than the verse-tagging. But his father, as 
we have said, had other views with respect to him. He 
must shade his fancies with a more sober colour, and 
follow the family profession. 

It was an unwise resolve. It was one of those resolves 
that more frequently mar than make a life. The forced 
control of inclinations to a falsehood is a common parent's 
crime ; not the less grievous when mistaken for a virtue. 
The stars do not more surely keep their courses, than an 
ill-regulated manhood will follow a mis-directed youth. 
This boy had noble qualities for a better chosen career. 
Thus early he had made it manifest, that he could see for 
himself and feel for others ; that he had strong sensi- 
bility and energy of intellect ; that where he had faith, 
lie had steadiness of purpose and enthusiasm : but that, 
closely neighbouring his power, were vehemence, will, 


and passion; and that these made him confident, in- 
flexible, and very hard to be controlled. From the com- 
pelled choice now put before him, one of two results was 
sure. He would resist, or he would succumb : in the 
one case, boasting exemption from vice, would become 
himself the victim of the worst of vices ; or in the other, 
with violent recoil from the hypocrisies, would outrage 
the proprieties of life. The proof soon came. 

Churchill had given evidence of scholarship in Latin 
and Greek as early as his fifteenth year, when, offering 
himself a candidate for the Westminster foundation, he 
went in head of the election ; but, on standing for the 
studentship to Merton-college, Oxford, three years later, 
he was rejected. Want of learning, premature indulgence 
of satirical tastes, and other as unlikely causes, have been 
invented to explain the rejection ; but there can be little 
doubt that its real cause was the discovery of a marriage 
imprudently contracted some months before, with a 
Westminster girl named Scot, and accomplished within 
the rules of the Fleet. A marriage most imprudent, 
most unhappy. It disqualified him for the studentship. 
It introduced his very boyhood to grave responsibilities 
which he was powerless to discharge, almost to compre- 
hend. What self-help he might have exerted against the 
unwise plans of his father, it crippled and finally destroyed. 
There is hardly a mistake or suffering in his after life, 
which it did not originate, or leave him without the 
means of repelling. That it was entered into at so early 
an age, and that it was effected by the scandalous faci- 
lities of the Fleet, were among its evil incidents, but not 
the worst. It encumbered him with a wife from whom 
he could not hope for sympathy, encouragement, or assist- 
ance in any good thing ; and to whom he could administer 
them as little. Neither understood the other ; or had 
that real affection which would have supplied all needful 

The good clergyman received them into his house soon 
after the discovery was made. The compromise seems to 
have been, that Churchill should no longer oppose his 
father's wishes, in regard to that calling of the Church to 
which he afterwards bitterly described himself decreed, 
" ere it was known that he should learn to read." He 

Churchill^ london amusements. 265 

was entered, but never resided, at Trinity in Cambridge. 
There was a necessary interval before the appointed age 
of ordination (for which he could qualify without a degree), 
and he passed it quietly : the first twelve months in his 
:£ather's house ; the rest in retirement, for which *' family 
" reasons '' are named but not explained, in the north of 
England. In that retirement, it is said, he varied church 
reading with " favourite poetical amusements ; " with 
what unequal apportionment, it might not be difiicult to 
guess. The already congenial charm he may be supposed 
to have found in the stout declamation of Juvenal, in 
the sly and insinuating sharpness of Horace, and in the 
indignant eloquence of Dryden — had little rivalry to fear 
from the fervid imagination of Taylor, the copious elo- 
quence of Barrow, or the sweet persuasiveness of South. 

In 1753 he visited London, to take possession, it is said, 
of a small fortune in right of his wife ; but there is 
nothing to show that he got the possession, however small. 
It is more apparent that the great city tempted him 
sorely; that boyish tastes were once more freely indulged; 
and that his now large and stalwart figure was oftener 
seen at theatres than chapels. It was a great theatrical 
time. Drury-lane was in its strength, with Garrick, 
Mossop, Mrs. Pritchard, Foote, Palmer, Woodward, Yates, 
and Mrs. Olive. Even in its comparative weakness, 
Covent-garden could boast of Barry, Smith, Shuter, and 
Macklin ; of Mrs. Gibber and Mrs. Vincent ; and, not 
seldom, of Quin, who still lingered on the stage he had 
quitted formally two or three years before, and yet seemed 
as loth to depart from reaUy, as Ghurchill, on these stolen 
evenings of enjoyment, from his favourite front row of 
the pit. Nevertheless, the promise to his father was 
kept : and, ha\"ing now reached the canonical age, he 
returned to the north in deacon's orders ; whence he 
removed, with little delay, to the curacy of South Cad- 
bury in Somersetshire. Here he ofiiciated till 1756, 
when he was ordained priest, and passed to his father's 
living at Kainham. 

Both these ordinations without a degree, are urged in 
special proof of his good character and reputation for 
singular learning ; but there is reason to suspect his 
father's influence as having been more powerful than 

266 SUCCEEDS TO HIS father's curacy. [Charles 

either. " His behaviour," says Dr. Kippis, writing in the 
Biographia Britannica, '' gained him the love and esteem 
" of his parishioners ; and his sermons, though some- 
" what raised above the level of his audience, were com- 
" mended and followed. What chiefly disturbed him, 
" was the smaUness of his income.''' This, though con- 
nected with a statement as to a Welsh living now rejected, 
has in effect been always repeated since, and may or may 
not be true. It is perhaps a little strange, if his sermons 
were thus elevated, commended, and followed, that no 
one recognised their style, or could in the least commend 
them, when a series of ten were published with his name 
eight years later ; but the alleged smallness of his income 
admits of no kind of doubt. He had now two sons, and, 
as he says himself, "prayed and starved on forty pounds 
" a-year." He opened a school. It was bitter drudgery. 
He wondered, he afterwards told his friends, that he had 
ever submitted to it; but necessities more bitter over- 
mastered him. What solid help this new toil might have 
given, however, was still uncertain, when, in 1758, his 
father died ; ^ and, in respect to his memory, his parish- 
ioners elected the curate of Rainham to succeed him. 
At the close of 1758, Charles Churcliill was settled in 
Westminster, at the age of twenty- seven, curate and 
lecturer of St. John's. 

It was not a very brilliant change, nor did it enable 
him as yet to dispense with very mean resources. " The 
" emoluments of his situation," observes Dr. Kippis, 
who was connected with the poet's friends, and, excepting 
where he quotes the loose assertions of the Annual Regis- 
ter, wYotQ on the information of Wilkes, "not amounting 
" to a fall hundred pounds a-year, in order to improve 
" his finances he undertook to teach young ladies to read 
" and write English with propriety and correctness ; and 
" was engaged for this purpose in the boarding-school of 
" Mrs. Dennis. Mr. ChurchiU conducted himself in his 
" new employment with aU the decorum becoming his 
" clerical profession." The grave doctor would thus 
gently indicate the teacher's virtue and self-command, in 

^ He died, Mr. Cunningham in- is tbe entry of the administration of 
forms me, intestate. In the Prero- his effects. 
gative Will Office, Doctors' Commons, 

Churchill.'^ tutor in a lady's school. 267 

showing him able to control, by the proper clerical de- 
corums, his instruction of Mrs. Dennis's young ladies. 
Mr. Tooke's biography more confidently asserts, that not 
only as the servant of Mrs. Dennis, but as " a parochial 
'' minister, he performed his duties "svith punctuality, 
" while in the pulpit he was plain, rational, and emphatic." 
On the other hand, Churchill himself tell us that he was 
not so. He says that he was an idle pastor and a drowsy 
preacher. We are assured, among the last and most 
earnest verses he composed, that " sleep at his bidding 
" crept from pew to pew." With a mournful bitterness 
he adds, that his heart had never been mth his pro- 
fession ; and that it was not of his own choice, but 
through need, and for his curse, he had ever been 

It is a shallow view of his career that can differently 
regard it, or suppose him at its close any other than he 
had been at its beginning. Mr. Tooke, after his peculiar 
fashion, would " divide the life into two distinct and dis- 
" similar portions ; the one pious, rational, and consistent ; 
" the other irregular, dissipated, and licentious." During 
the first portion of seven- and- twenty years, says this 
philosophic observer, "with the exception of a few 

^ "Much did I wish, e'en whilst I Much did I wish, though little could 

kept those sheep, I hope, 

Which, for my curse, I was ordain'd A friend in him who was the friend 

to keep, of Pope." 

Ordain'd, alas ! to keep through y ^.v at, £ 

need, not choice. In the same poem occurs the fine 

Those sheep which never heard their aP^s^^oP^e *« ^^^^^ ^^^nd of Pope : 

shepherd's voice " Doctor ! Dean ! Bishop ! Glo'ster ! 

Which did not know,' yet would not ^^^ ^7 ^^^^ ! 

learn their way, ^^ haply these high titles may accord 

Which stray'd themselves, yetgriev'd With thy meek spirit ; if the barren 

that I should stray ; sound _ 

Those sheep which my good father Of pride delights thee, to the top- 

(on his bier ^ost round 

Let filial duty drop the pious ^^ Fortune's ladder got, despise not 

tear) oiie 

Kept well, yet starv'd himself, e'en ^or want of smooth hypocrisy 

at that time undone, 

Whilst I was pure and innocent of ^^o, far below, turns up his won- 

rhyme, dering eye, 

Whilst, sacred dulness ever in my ^"^^y without envy, sees thee placed 


so high.' 

Sleep at my bidding crept from pew The lines are in the Dedication to 

to pew; Warburton, iii. 317-19; 325-6. 


" indiscretions, his conduct in every relation, as son, as 
" brother, as husband, as father, and as friend, was 
" rigidly and exemplarily, though obscurely virtuous ; 
" while the remaining six years present an odious con- 
" trast." Why, with such convictions, Mr. Tooke edited 
the odious six years, and not the pure twenty-seven ; why 
he published the poems, and did not collect the sermons ; 
the philosopher does not explain. For ourselves let us 
add, that we hold with no such philosophy in ChurchilPs 
case, or in any other. Whatever the corrupting influence 
of education may be, or whatever the evil mistakes of 
early training, we believe that Nature is apt to show her- 
self at all times both rational and consistent. She has 
no delight in monsters, and no pride in odious contrasts. 
Her art is at least as wise as Horace desciibes the art of 
poetry to be : she joins no discordant terminations to 
beginnings that are pure and lovely. Such as he honestly 
was, Churchill can afi'ord to be honestly judged ; and, 
when he calls it his curse to have been ordained, he invites 
that judgment. He had grave faults, and paid dearly for 
them ; but he set up for no virtue that he had not. In 
the troubled self-reproaches of later years, he recalled no 
pure self- satisfactions in the past. To have been 

" Decent and demure at least, 
As grave and dull as any priest," 

was all the pretence he made. It was his disgrace, if 
the word is to be used, to have assumed the clerical gown. 
It was not his disgrace to seek to lay it aside as soon as 
might be. 

That such was the direction of his thoughts, as soon as 
his father's death removed his chief constraint, is plain. 
His return to Westminster had brought him back within 
the sphere of old temptations; the ambition of a more 
active life, the early school aspirings, the consciousness of 
talents rusting in disuse, again disturbed him ; and he 
saw, or seemed to see, distinctions falling on the men who 
had started life when he did, from the Literature which 
he might have cultivated with yet greater success. Bon- 
nell Thornton and Colman were by this time established 
town wits ; and with another schoolfellow (his now disso- 

Churchill.^ old temptations revived. 269 

lute neighbour, Robert Lloyd, weary also of the drudgery 
of his father's calling, to which he had succeeded as an 
usher in Westminster school, and on the eve himself of 
rushing into the life of a professed man of letters), he was 
in renewed habits of daily intercourse. Nor, to the dis- 
content thus springing up on all sides, had he any power 
of the least resistance in his home. His ill-considered 
marriage had by this time borne its bitterest fruit ; it 
being always understood in Westminster, says Dr. Kippis, 
himself a resident there, "that Mrs. Churchill's im- 
" prudence kept too near a pace with that of her hus- 
" band." The joint imprudence had its effect in growing 
embarrassment ; continual terrors of arrest induced the 
most painful concealments ; executions were lodged in 
his house; and his life was passed in endeavours to 
escape his creditors, perhaps not less to escape himself. 
It was then that young Lloyd, whose whole life had been 
a sad impulsive scene of licence, threw open to him, 
without further reserve, his own reckless circle of dissi- 
pation and forgetfulness. It was entered eagerly. 

In one of his later writings, he describes this time ; ' 
his credit gone, his pride humbled, his virtue undermined, 
himself sinking beneath the adverse storm, and the kind 
hand, whose owner he should love and reverence to his 
dying day, which was suddenly stretched forth to save him. 
It was that of the good Dr. Lloyd, now under-master of 
Westminster : he saw the creditors, persuaded them to 
accept a composition of five shillings in the pound, and 
lent what was required to complete it. In this, with the 
generous wish to succour his favourite pupil, there may 
have been the hope of one more chance of safety for his 
son. But it was too late. At almost the same instant, 
young Lloyd deserted his ushership of Westminster to 
throw himself on literature for support ; and Churchill, 
resolving to try his fate as a poet, prepared to abandon 
his profession. A formal separation from his wife, and 
a first rejection by the booksellers, date within a few 
months of each other. 

At the close of 1760, he carried round his first effort 
in verse to those arbiters of literature, then all-powerful ; 

1 In The Conference, ii. 19^-195. 


for it was tlie sorry and helpless interval (so filled mth 
calamities of authors) when the patron was completely 
gone, and the public had not fairly come. The Bard, 
written in Hudibrastic verse, was contemptuously rejected. 
But, fairly bent upon his new career, he was not the man 
to waste time in fruitless complainings. He wrote again, 
in a style more likely to be acceptable ; and the Conclave, 
a satire aimed at the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, 
would have been published eagerly, but for a legal opinion 
on the dangers of a prosecution, interposed by the book- 
seller's friend. This was at once a lesson in the public taste, 
and in the caution with which it should be catered 
for. Profiting by it, Churchill with better fortune planned 
his third undertaking. He took a subject in which his 
friend Lloyd had recently obtained success ; in which 
severity was not unsafe ; and to which, already firm as 
it was in the interest of what was called the Town, he 
could nevertheless give a charm of novelty. After " two 
" months' close attendance at the theatres," he completed 
The Rosciad. 

It is not known to what bookseller he offered it, but it 
is certain that it was refused by more than one. Pro- 
bably it went the round of The Trade : a trade more 
remarkable for mis-valuation of its raw material, than 
any other in existence. He asked five guineas for the 
manuscript (according to Southey, but Mr. Tooke says he 
asked twenty pounds), and there was not a member of the 
craft that the demand did not terrify. But he was not to 
be baffled this time. He possibly knew the merit of 
what he had done. Here, at any rate, into this however 
slighted manuscript, a something long restrained within 
himself had forced its way ; and a chance he was deter- 
mined it should have. It was no little risk to run in his 
position ; but, at his own expense, he printed and pub- 
lished The Rosciad. It appeared without his name, after 
two obscure advertisements, in March 1761. 

A few days served to show what a hit had been made. 
They who in a double sense had cause to feel it, doubt- 
less cried out first ; but Who is He ? was soon in the 
mouths of all. Men upon town spoke of its pungency 
and humour ; men of higher mark found its manly verse 

Churchill.'] the rosciad. 271 

ticism to discuss ; and discontented Whigs, in disfavour 
at Court for the first time these fifty years, gladly wel- 
comed a spirit that might help to give discontent new 
terrors, and Revolution principles new vogue. Thus, m 
their turn, the wit, the strong and easy verse, the grasp 
of character, and the rude free daring of the Rosciad, 
were, within a few days of the appearance of its shilKng 
pamphlet, the talk of every London cofi'eehouse. 

One remarkable piece of writing in it might well 
startle the town by the power it displayed. It was the 
full length picture of a noted frequenter of the theatres 
in those days, who had originated some shameful riots 
against Garrick's management of Drury-lane, the very 
vileness of whose character had been hitherto his protec- 
tion, but who now saw himself gibbeted to universal 
scorn, where no man could mistake him, and none 
administer rehef. It is one of the masterpieces of Eng- 
lish satire ; and, being dependent for its interest on 
something higher than the individual likeness, it may still 
be presented, as Churchill desired it should be left, without 
a name. 


With that low cunning, which in fools supplies, 

And amply too, the place of being wise ; 

Which Nature, kind indulgent parent, gave 

To qualify the blockhead for a knave ; 

With that smooth falsehood, Avhose appearance charms. 

And reason of each wholesome doubt disarms, 

Which to the lowest depths of guile descends, 

By vilest means pursues the vilest ends. 

Wears friendship's mask for purposes of spite, 

Fawns in the day, and butchers in the night ; 

With that malignant envy, which turns pale, 

And sickens, even if a friend prevail. 

Which merit and success pursues with hate, 

And damns the worth it cannot imitate ; 

With the cold caution of a coward's spleen. 

Which fears not guilt, but always seeks a screen, 

Which keeps this maxim ever in his view — 

What's basely done should be done safely too ; 

With that dull, rooted, callous impudence, 

Which, dead to shame and ev'ry nicer sense. 

Ne'er blush'd, unless, in spreading vice's snares, 

She blunder' d on some virtue imawares ; 

With all these blessings, which we seldom find, 

Lavish'd by nature on one happy mind. 


Came simpering on : to ascertain whose sex 
Twelve sage, impannell'd matrons would perplex. 
Nor male, nor female ; neither, and yet both ; 
Of neuter gender, though of Irish growth ; 
A six-foot suckling, mincing in Its gait ; 
Affected, peevish, prim, and delicate ; 
Fearful It seem'd, tho' of athletic make. 
Lest brutal breezes should too roughly shake 
Its tender form, and savage motion spread 
O'er Its pale cheeks, the horrid manly red. 

Much did It talk, in Its own pretty phrase, 
Of genius and of taste, of players and plays ; 
Much too of writings, which Itself had wrote, 
Of special merit, though of little note ; 
For Fate, in a strange humour, had decreed 
That what It wrote, none but Itself should read : 
Much too It chattered of dramatic laws, 
Misjudging critics, and misplac'd applause, 
Then, with a self-complacent jutting air, 
It smil'd. It smirk'd. It wriggled to the Chair ; 
And, with an awkward briskness not Its own, 
Looking around, and perking on the throne. 
Triumphant seem'd : when that strange savage Dame, 
Known but to few, or only known by name, 
Plain Common Sense appear' d, by Nature there 
Appointed with plain Ti-uth to guard the Chair, 
The pageant saw, and, blasted with her frowoi, 
To Its first state of Nothing melted down. 

Nor shall the Muse (for even there the pride 
Of this vain Nothing shall be mortified) 
Nor shall the Muse {should fate ordain her rhymes, 
Fond, pleasing thought ! to live in after-times) 
"With such a trifler's name her pages blot ; 
Known be the Character, the Thing forgot ! 
Let It, to disappoint each future aim. 
Live without sex, and die without a name ! 

Other likenesses there were, too, named as well as 
gibbeted, because taken from a more exalted and more 
pubHc stage; and, prominent among them, the Scotch 


To mischief train' d, e'en from his mother's womb, 

Grown old in fraud, tho' yet in manhood's bloom, 

Adopting arts by which gay villains rise. 

And reach the heights which honest men despise ; 

Mute at the bar, and in the senate loud, 

Dull 'mongst the dullest, proudest of the proud ; 

A pert, prim. Prater of the northern race, 

Guilt in his heart, and famine in his face. 

Stood forth : and thrice he waved his lily hand— 

And thrice he twirl'd his tye — thrice strok'd his band. 

Churchill7\ yates and mossop. 273 

But these, masterly as they might be, were only " limbs 
" and flourishes ; " for of course the substance of the satire 
was its picture of the Stage. And how finished was the 
portraiture, how vivid its reflection of the originals, how 
faithful the mirror it set up, in which the vainest, most 
sensitive, and most irritable of mankind, might see them- 
selves for nothing better than they were, will appear in 
even the few incomplete subjects we here borrow from its 


In characters of low and vulgar mould, 
Where nature's coarsest features we behold, 
Where, destitute of ev'ry decent grace, 
TJnmanner'd jests are blurted in your face, 
There Yates with justice strict attention draws. 
Acts truly from himself, and gains applause. 
But when, to please himself or charm his wife, 
He aims at something in politer life, 
When, blindly thwarting Nature's stubborn plan, 
He treads the stage by way of gentleman. 
The Clown, who no one touch of breeding knows. 
Looks like Tom Errand dress'd in Clincher's clothes. 
Fond of his dress, fond of his person grown, 
Laugh'd at by all, and to himself unknown, 
From side to side he struts, he smiles, he prates. 
And seems to wonder what's become of Yates. 


Sparks at his glass sat comfortably down 

To separate frown from smile, and smile from frown ; 

Smith, the genteel, the airy, and the smart. 

Smith was just gone to school to say his part j 

Ross (a misfortune which we often meet) 

Was fast asleep at dear Statira's feet ; 

Statira, with her hero to agree. 

Stood on her feet as fast asl-eep as he. 

Mossop, attach'd to military plan. 

Still kept his eye fix'd on his right-hand man. 

Whilst tho mouth measures words with seeming skill, 

The right-hand labours, and the left lies still ; 

For he resolved on scripture -grounds to go. 

What the right doth, the left-hand shall not know. 

With studied impropriety of speech 

He soars beyond the hackney critic's reach ; 

To epithets allots emphatic state, 

Whilst principals, ungrac'd, like lackies, wait ; 

In ways lirst trodden by himself excels. 

And stands alone in indeclinables ; 

374 BARRY AND QuiN. [Charles 

Conjunction, preposition, adverb, join 

To stamp new vigour on the nervous line ; 

In monosyllables his thunders roll. 

He, she, it, and, we, ye, they, fright the soul. 


In person taller than the common size, 

Behold where Barry draws admiring eyes ! 

When lab' ring passions, in his bosom pent. 

Convulsive rage, and struggling heave for vent, 

Spectators, with imagin'd terrors warm, 

Anxious expect the bursting of the storm : 

But, all unfit in such a pile to dwell. 

His voice comes forth, like Echo from her cell ; 

To swell the tempest needful aid denies, 

And all adown the stage in feeble murmurs dies. 

What man, like Barry, with such pains, can err 
In elocution, action, character ? 
What man could give, if Barry was not here, 
Such well applauded tenderness to Lear ? 
"VVTio else can speak so very, very fine, 
That sense may kindly end with ev'ry line ? 

Some dozen lines before the ghost is there, 
Behold him for the solemn scene prepare. 
See how he frames his eyes, poises each limb, 
Puts the whole body into proper trim. 
From whence we learn, with no great stretch of art. 
Five lines hence comes a ghost, and, Ha ! a start. 

When he appears most perfect, still we find 
Something which jars upon, and hurts the mind ; 
Whatever lights upon a part are thrown 
We see too plainly they are not his own. 
No flame from Nature ever yet he caught ; 
Nor knew a feeling which he was not taught ; 
He raised his trophies on the base of art. 
And conn'd his passions, as he conn'd his part. 


His words bore sterling weight ; nervous and strong. 
In manly tides of sense they roU'd along. 
Happy in art, he chiefly had pretence 
To keep up numbers, yet not forfeit sense. 
No actor ever greater heights could reach 

In all the labour'd artifice of speech 

His eyes, in gloomy socket taught to roll, 
Proclaim'd the sullen habit of his soul. 
Heavy and phlegmatic he trod the stage. 
Too proud for tenderness, too dull for rage. 
When Hector's lovely widow shines in tears 
Or Rowe's gay rake dependent virtue jeers, 
With the same cast of features he is seen 
To chide the libertine, and court the queen. 
From the tame scene, which without passion flows, 
With just desert his reputation rose : 
Nor les3 he pleased, when, on some surly plan. 
He was, at once, the actor and the man. 

Churchill?^ david garrick. 275 


Here Havard, all serene, in the same strains 
Loves, hates, and rages, triumphs, and complains ; 
His easy vacant face proclaim'd a heart 
Which could not feel emotions, nor impart. 
AVith him came mighty Davies. On my life 
That Davies hath a very pretty wife ! 
Statesman all over ! — In plots famous grown ! — 
He mouths a sentence, as curs mouth a bone. 


Last Garrick came. — Behind him throng a train 
Of snarling critics, ignorant as vain. 

One finds out, — "He's of stature somewhat low, — 
Your hero always should be tall you know. 
True natural greatness all consists in height." 
Produce your voucher, Critic. — "Sergeant Kite." 

Another can't forgive the paltry arts, 
By which he makes his way to shallow hearts ; 
Mere pieces of finesse, traps for applause — 
" Avaunt ! unnatural Start, affected Pause." 

For me, by Nature form'd to judge with phlegm, 
1 can't acquit by wholesale, nor condemn. 
The best things carried to excess are wrong : 
The start may be too frequent, pause too long ; 
But, only us d in proper time and place, 
Severest judgment must allow them gi-ace. 

If bunglers, form'd on Imitation's plan, 
Just in the way that monkies mimic man, 
Their copied scene with mangled arts disgrace, 
And pause and start with the same vacant face, 
We join the critic laugh ; those tricks we scorn 
Which spoil the scenes they mean them to adorn. 
But when, from Nature's pure and genuine source, 
These strokes of acting flow with generous force, 
When in the features all the soul's portray' d. 
And passions, such as Garrick' s, are display'd, 
To me they seem from quickest feelings caught : 
Each start is Nature, and each pause is Thought. 
* * « * * 

The judges, as the sev'ral parties came, 
With tamper heard, with judgment weigh' d, each claim 
And, in their sentence happily agreed, 
In name of both. Great Shakespeare thus decreed. 

" If manly sense, if nature Hnk'd with art ; 
If thorough knowledge of the human heart ; 
If powers of acting, vast and uncoufined ; 
If fewest faults, with greatest beauties join'd ; 
If strong expression, and strange powers which lie 
Within the magic circle of the eye ; 
If feelings which few hearts, like his, can know. 
And wliich no face so well as his can show. 
Deserve the preference ; — Garrick ! take the chair, 
Nor quit it— till thou place an Equal there." 

T 2 

276 EFFECTS OF THE RosciAD. [CJiaries 

To account for the reception Satire commonly meets 
with in the world, and for the scant numher of those who 
are offended with it, it has been compared to a sort of 
glass wherein beholders may discover every body's face 
but their own. The class whom the Rosciad principally 
offended, however, could discover nobody's face but their 
own. It was the remark of one of themselves, that they 
ran about the town hke so many stricken deer. They 
cared little on their own account, they said ; but they 
grieved so very much for their friends. " Why should 
" this man attack Mr. Havard ? " remonstrated one. " I 
" am not at all concerned for myself ; but what has poor 
" Billy Havard done, that he must be treated so cruelly ?*' 
To which another with less sympathy rejoined : '' And 
" pray, what has Mr. Havard done, that he cannot bear 
" his misfortunes as well as another ? " For, indeed, 
many more than the Billy Havards had their misfortunes 
to bear. The strong, quite as freely as the weak, were 
struck at in the Rosciad. The Quin, the Mossop, and the 
Barry, as we have seen, had as little mercy as the Sparks, 
the Ross, and the Davies ; and even Garrick was too full 
of terror at the avalanche that had fallen, to rejoice very 
freely in his own escape. Forsooth, he must assume 
indifference to the praise ; and suggest with off-hand 
grandeur to one of his retainers, that the writer had 
treated him civilly no doubt, with a view to the freedom 
of the theatre. He had the poor excuse for tfiis fribbling 
folly (which Churchill heard of, and punished), that he 
did not yet affect even to know the writer ; and was him- 
self repeating the question addressed to him on all sides, 
Who is He ? 

It was a question which the Critical Reviewers soon took 
upon themselves to answer. They were great authorities 
in those days, and had no less a person than Smollett at 
their head. But here they bungled sadly. The field 
which the Rosciad had invaded, they seem to have thought 
their own ; and they fell to the work of resentment in the 
spirit of the tiger commemorated in the Rambler, who 
roared without reply and ravaged without resistance. If 
they could have anticipated either the resistance or the 
reply, they would doubtless have been a little more dis- 
creet. No question could exist of the authorship, they 

Churchill^ the apology. 277 

said. The thing was clear. Who were they that the 
poem made heroes of? Messrs. Lloyd and Colman. 
Then, who could have written it ? Why, who hut Messrs. 
Lloyd and Colman ? " Claw me^ claw thee, as Sawney 
" says ; and so it is ; they go and scratch one another 
" like Scotch pedlars.'* Hereupon, for the Critical Review 
was a " great fact " then, Lloyd sent forth an advertise- 
ment to say that he was never " concerned or consulted" 
about the publication, nor ever corrected or saw the 
sheets. He was followed by Colman, who took the same 
means of announcing "most solemnly" that he was 
" not in the least concerned." To these were added, in 
a few days, a third advertisement. It stated that Charles 
Churchill was the author of the Rosciad; and that his 
Apology addressed to the Critical Reviewers, would imme- 
diately be published. Before the close of the month this 
poem appeared. 

On all who had professed to doubt the power of the 
new writer, the effect was prompt and decisive. The 
crowd so recently attracted by his hard hitting, now 
gathered round in greater numbers, to enjoy the clattering 
descent of such well-aimed blows on the astonished heads 
of unprepared reviewers. One half of the poem was a 
protest against the antipathies and hatreds that are the 
general welcome of new-comers into literature — the fact 
in natural history, somewhere touched upon by Warbur- 
ton, that only pikes and poets prey upon their kind. The 
other half was a bitter depreciation of the Stage ; much 
in the manner, and hardly less admirable than the wit, of 
Hogarth. Smollett was fiercely attacked, and Garrick 
was rudely warned and threatened. Coarseness there 
was throughout, but a fearless aspect of strength ; too 
great a tendency to say with willing vehemence whatever 
could be eloquently said, but in this a mere over- assertion 
of the consciousness of real power. In an age where 
most things were tame, except the practice of profligacy 
in all its forms ; when Grray describes even a gout, and 
George Montagu an earthquake, of. so mild a character 
that " you might stroke them ; " it is not to be wondered 
at that this Apology should have gathered people round 
it. Tame, it certainly was not. It was a curious con- 
trast to the prevailing manner of even the best of such 


things. It was a fierce and sudden change from the 
parterres of trim sentences set within sweetbrier hedges 
of epigram, that were, in this line, the most applauded 
performances of the day. 

Walter Scott's favourite passage in Crahbe was the 
arrival of the Strolling Players in the Borough. It was 
among the things selected by Lockhart to read aloud to 
him, during the last mournful days in which his con- 
sciousness remained. Excellent as it is, however, it is 
hut the pale reflection of those masterly lines in the 
Apology which we are now about to quote. As Garrick 
read them, he afterwards told his friends, he was so 
charmed and raised by the power of the writing, that he 
really forgot he was delighted when he ought to have 
been alarmed. He compared himself to the Highland 
officer who was so warmed and elevated by the heat of 
the battle, that he had forgot, until he was reminded by 
the smarting, that he had received no less than eleven 
wounds in different parts of his body. 


The strolling tribe, a despicable race, 
Like wandering Arabs, shift from place to place. 
Vagrants by law, to justice open laid, 
They tremble, of the beadle's lash afraid, 
And fawning cringe, for wretched means of life, 
To Madam May'ress, or his Worship's Wife. 

The mighty monarch, in theatric sack. 
Carries his whole regalia at his back : 
His royal consort heads the female band, 
And leads the heir-apparent in her hand ; 
The pannier' d ass creeps on with conscious pride, 
Bearing a future prince on either side. 
No choice musicians in this troop are found 
To varnish nonsense with the charms of sound ; 
No swords, no daggers, not one poison'd bowl ; 
No lightning flashes here, no thunders roll ; 
No guards to swell the monarch's tmn are shown ; 
The monarch here must be a host aloTie. 
No solemn pomp, no slow processions here ; 
No Ammon's entry, and no Juliet's bier. 

By need compell'd to prostitute his art. 
The varied actor flies from part to part ; 
And, strange disgrace to all theatric pride ! 
His character is shifted with his side. 
Question and answer he by turns must be, 
Like that small wit in Modern Tragedy 
Who, to patch up his fame — or fill his purse — 
Still pilfers wretched plans, and makes them worse ; 

Churchill^ fright of garrick. 279 

Like gypsies, lest the stolen brat be known, 
Defacing first, then claiming for his own. 
In shabby state they strut, and tatter' d robe ; 
The scene a blanket, and a barn the globe. 
No high conceits their moderate wishes raise, 
Content with humble profit, humble praise. 
Let dowdies simper, and let bumpkins stare, 
The strolling pageant hero treads in air : 
Pleas'd for his hour, he to mankind gives law, 
And snores the next out on a truss of straw. 

But if kind fortune, who sometimes we know 
Can take a hero from a puppet show. 
In mood propitious should her fav'rite call, 
On royal stage in royal pomp to bawl. 
Forgetful of himself he rears the head, 
And scorns the dunghill where he first was bred. 
Conversing now with well-dress'd kings and queens, 
With gods and goddesses behind the scenes. 
He sweats beneath the terror-nodding plume. 
Taught by mock honours real pride to assume. 
On this great stage, the World, no monarch e'er 
Was half' so haughty as a monarch-player. 

The effect of the Apology y as we have said, was instant 
and decisive. Davies tells us that Smollett wrote to 
Garrick, to ask him to make it known to Mr. Churchill, 
that he was not the writer of the notice of the Rosciad 
in the Critical Revieio. Garrick himself wrote to Lloyd 
Avith affected self-humility, as " his pasteboard Majesty of 
" Drury-lane," to praise Mr. Churchill's genius, and to 
grieve that he should not have been vindicated by their 
common friend from Mr. Churchill's displeasure.* The 
player accepted the poet's warning. There was no fear 
of his repeating the hetise he had committed. To his 
most distinguished friends, to even the Dukes and 
Dowagers of his acquaintance, he was careful never to 
omit in future his good word for Mr. Churchill ; and 
never, even when describing the "misery" t\iQ Rosciad 
had inflicted on a dear companion, did he forget his own 

J ** In his Bosciad he rale' d me " justly or not. If the first, you 

" too high, in his Apology he may " should certaiuly have opened your 

** have sunk me too low; he has done " heart to me and have heard my 

" as his Israelites did, made an " apology ; if the last, you should 

* ' Idol of a calf, and now— the Idol " as a common friend to both have 

•' dwindles to be a calf again ! To " vindicated me, and then I might 

" be a little serious, you mentioned ' ' liave escaped his Apology. But 

*' to me some time ago that Mr. '* be it this or that or t'other, I am 

** Churchill was displeased with me, "still his gi'eat admirer," etc. — 

•** you must have known whether Garrick to Uobert Lloyd. 


" love to Cliurcliill/' Affection for the satirist prevailed 
still over pity for his victims ; and the manager and the 
poet lived together in amity, and Churchill dined at 
Hampton, to the last. 

" I have seen the poem you mentioned, the JRosciad,'^ 
writes Garrick's friend. Bishop Warburton, " and was 
" surprised at the excellent things I found in it ; but 
" took Churchill to be a feigned name, so little do I know 
" of what is going forward ;'' — this good Bishop little 
thinking how soon he was to discover a reality to himself 
in what was going forward, hardly less bitter than Garrick 
had confessed in the letter to Lloyd, " of acting a 
*' pleasantry of countenance while his back was most 
*' wofully striped with the cat-o'-nine tails." The lively 
actor nevertheless subjoined : " I will show the supe- 
" riority I have over my brethren upon this occasion, 
" by seeming at least that I am not dissatisfied." He 
did not succeed : the acting was not so good as usual, 
and the superiority not so obvious. For in truth his 
brethren had the best of it, in proportion as they had less 
interest in the art so bitterly, and, it must be added, so 
unjustly assailed. " It was no small consolation to us," 
says Davies, with great naivete, " that our master was 
" not spared." Some of the more sensible went so far 
as to join in the laugh that had been raised against them ; 
and Shuter asked to be allowed to " compote " and make 
merry with the satirist— a request at once conceded. 

On the other hand, with not a few, the publication of 
Churchill's name had aggravated offence, and re-opened 
the smarting wound. But their anger did not mend the 
matter. Their Anti-Rosciads, Triumvirates, Examiners, 
and Churchilliads, making what reparation and revenge 
they could, amounted to but the feeble admission of their 
opponent's strength; nor did hostilities more personal 
accomplish other than precisely this. Parties who had 
met to devise retaliation, and who were observed talking 
loud against the Satirical Parson in the Bedford coffee- 
house, quietly dispersed when a brawny figure appeared, 
and Churchill, drawing ofi" his gloves with a particularly 
slow composure, called for a dish of cofiee and the Rosdad. 
Their fellow-performer, Yates, seeing the same figure 
darken the parlour-door of the Rose tavern where he 

Churchill?^ attacks upon the satirist. 281 

happened to be sitting, snatched up a case-knife to do 
summary justice ; and was never upon the stage so 
heartily laughed at, as when, somewhat more quietly, he 
laid it down. Foote wrote a lampoon against the Clumsy 
Curate, and with a sensible after-thought of fear (excellent 
matter of derision to the victims of a professed lampooner), 
suppressed it. Arthur Murphy less wisely published 
his, and pilloried himself ; his Ode to the Naiads of Fleet 
Bitch being but a gross confession of indecency as well as 
imbecility — which was more than Churchill charged him 

" No more he'll sit," exclaimed this complacent and 
courageous counter-satirist, whose verses, silly as they 
are, will give us a glimpse of the Where and the How our 
hero sat at the theatre, 

* ' In foremost row before the astonisli'd pit ; 
In brawn Oldmixon's rival as in wit ; 
And grin dislike, And kiss the spike ; 

And giggle, ) j And fiddle. 

And wriggle ; J ( And diddle," &c. &e. 

But Churchill returned to his front row, " by Arthur 
" undismayed;" and still formidable was his broad burly 
face, when seen from the stage behind that spike of the 
orchestra. " In this place he thought he could best 
" discern the real workings of the passions in the actors, 
" or what they substituted in the stead of them," says 
Davies, who had good reason to know the place. There 
is an affecting letter of his in the Garrick Correspondence, 
deprecating the manager's wrath. " During the run of 
" Cymheline,^^ he says (and of course, his line being the 
heavy business, he had to bear the burden of royalty in 
that play), " I had the misfortune to disconcert you 
*' in one scene, for which I did immediately beg your 
'' pardon ; and did attribute it to my accidentally seeing 
*' Mr. Churchill in the pit, with great truth ; it rendering 
" me confused and unmindful of my business." Garrick 

^ Very diflFerent was Robert he rendered worthy tribute not alone 

Lloyd's masterly Epistle to C. to Lis friend the author of the Ros- 

Churchill^ in which, while he gib- ciad, but to "manly Johnson," and 

beted (xray, and other true men uf the 

*' Murphy, or Durfey, for it's all the time, 
same, " 


miglit have been more tolerant of poor Davies, recollecting 
that on a recent occasion even the royal robes of Richard 
had not wrapt himself from the consciousness of that 
ominous figure in the pit; and that he had grievingly 
written to Colman of his sense of the arch-critic's too 
apparent discontent.^ 

Thus, then, had Churchill, in little more than two 
months, sprung into a notoriety of a very remarkable, 
perhaps not of a very enviable kind, made up of admi- 
ration and alarm. What other satirists had desired to 
shrink from, he seemed eager to brave ; and the man, 
not less than the poet, challenged with an air of defiance 
the talk of the town. Pope had a tall Irishman to attend 
him after he published the Dunciad, but Churchill was 
tall enough to attend himself. One of Pope's victims, 
by way of delicate reminder, hung up a birch rod at 
Button's ; but Churchill's victims might see their satirist 
any day walking Covent-garden unconcernedly, provided 
by himself with a bludgeon. What excuse may be sug- 
gested for this personal bravado will be drawn from the 
incidents of his early life. If these had been more 
auspicious, the straightforward manliness of his natural 
character would more steadily have sustained him to the 
last. As it was, even that noblest quality did him a dis- 
service ; being in no light degree responsible for his violent 
extremes. The restraint he had so long submitted to, 
once thrown aside, and the compromise ended, he thought 
he could not too plainly exhibit his new existence to the 
world. He had declared war against hypocrisy in all 
•stations, and in his own would set it no example. The 
pulpit had starved him on forty pounds a-year ; the public 
had given him a thousand pounds in two months ; and he 
proclaimed himself, with little regard to the decencies in 
doing it, better satisfied with the last service than with the 
first. This was carrying a hatred of hypocrisy beyond the 
verge of prudence — indulging it indeed, with the satire it 
found vent in, to the very borders of licentiousness. He 
stripped off his clerical dress by way of parting with his 
last disguise, and appeared in a blue coat with metal 

1 "My love to Churchill; his ** ceived about the house." — Garrick 
*' being sick of Richard was per- to George Colman. 

Churchill.'] curacy of st. john's resigned. 283 

buttons, a gold-laced waistcoat, a gold-laced hat, and 

Dean Zacliary Pearce, afterwards Bishop of Rochester, 
remonstrated with him. He replied that he was not 
conscious of deserving censure. The Dean thereupon 
observed, that the habit of frequenting play-houses was 
unfitting, and that the Rosciad was indecorous ; to which 
he rejoined, that so were some of the classics which the 
Dean had translated. The " dull dean's " third remon- 
strance as to dress, met with the same fate ; and it was 
not until the St. John's parishioners themselves took the 
matter in hand, a few months later, that Churchill 
resigned the lectureship of that parish. It was just that 
they should determine it, he said ; and the most severe 
assailant of his turbulent life would hardly charge him 
with indifference, at any time, to what he really believed 
to be just. The date of his good fortune, and that of the 
comfort of his before struggling family, his " brother John 
" and sister Patty," were the same. The complainings 
of his wife were ended when his own poverty was ended, 
by the generous allowance he set aside for her support. 
Every man of whom he had borrowed was paid with 
interest ; and the creditors, whose compromise had left 
them without a legal claim upon him, received, to their 
glad amazement, the remaining fifteen shillings in the 
pound. " In the instance," says Dr. Kippis, " which 
" fell under my knowledge as an executor and guardian, 
" Mr. Churchill voluntarily came to us and paid the ftdl 
" amount of the original debt." 

It was not possible with such a man as this, that any 
mad dissipation or indulgence, however countenanced 
by the uses of the time, could wear away his sense of 
its unworthiness, or entirely silence remorse and self- 
reproach. Nor is it clear that Churchill's heart was 
ever half so much with the scenes of gaiety into which he 

1 In one of the numberless and The better to deceive, puts off the 
now utterly forgotten satires which gown ; 

Churchill's popularity provoked, the In blue and gold now strutting like 
Author of Churchill Dissected tells a peer 

us — Cocks his lac'd beaver with a mar- 
*' He skulks about, and, fearing to tial air." 

be known, 

284 EPISTLE TO LLOYD. \_CharIes 

is now said to have recklessly entered, as witli the friend 
by whose side he entered them. It is indeed mournfully 
confessed, in the opening of the Epistle to that friend, 
which was his third effort in poetry, that it was to heal 
or hide their care they frequently met ; that not to defy 
but to escape the world, was too often their desire ; and 
that the reason was at all times but too strong with each 
of them, to seek in the other's society a refuge from 

This Epistle, addressed to Lloyd, and published in 
October 1761, was forced from him by the public impu- 
tations, now become frequent and fierce, against the 
moral character of them both. Armstrong, in a poetical 
epistle to his friend "gay Wilkes," had joined with these 
detractors ; and his Bay suggested Churchill's Night. It 
ridiculed the judgments of the world, and defied its 
censure ; which had the power to call bad names, it said, 
but not to create bad qualities in those who are content 
to brave such judgments. It had some nervous lines, 
many manly thoughts, and not a little questionable 
philosophy ; but it proved to be chiefly remarkable for 
indicating the new direction of Churchill's satire. There 
had been rumours of his having intended a demolition 
of a number of minor actors hitherto unassailed, in a 
Smithfield Eosciad; and, to a poor man's pitiable depre- 
cation of such needless severity, he had deigned a sort of 
surly indignation at the rumour, but no distinct denial. 
It was now obvious that he contemplated other actors, 
and a very different theatre. Pitt had been driven to 
his resignation in the preceding month ; " and," cried 
Churchill here, amid other earnest praise of that darling 
of the people, 

*' What honest man hut would with joy suhmit, 
To bleed with Cato and retire with Pitt ! " 

" Gay Wilkes," at once betook himself to the popular 
poet. Though Armstrong's Epistle had been addressed 
to him, he declared that he had no sympathy with it 
whatever; and he was sure that Armstrong himself, then 
abroad, had never designed it for publication. Other 
questions and assurances followed ; and so began the 
friendship which only death ended. Wilkes had little 

Churchill.'] JACK wilkes. 285 

strength or sincerity of feeling of any kind ; but there is 
no doubt that all he had was given to Churchill, and that 
he was repaid with an affection as hearty, brotherly, and 
true, as ever man inspired. 

All men of all parties who knew John Wilkes at the 
outset of his extraordinary career, are in agreement as to 
the fascination of his manners. It was particularly the 
admission of those whom he had assailed most bitterly. 
" Mr. Wilkes," said Lord Mansfield, " was the plea- 
" santest companion, the politest gentleman, and the best 
" scholar, I ever knew." *' His name," said Dr. John- 
son, " has been sounded from pole to pole as the phoenix 
" of convivial felicity." More naturally he added : 
" Jack has a great variety of talk ; Jack is a scholar ; 
" and Jack has the manners of a gentleman." And every 
one will remember his characteristic letter to Mrs. 
Thrale : " I have been breaking jokes with Jack Wilkes 
" upon the Scotch. Such, madam, are the vicissitudes 
'* of things." There is little wonder that he who 
could control vicissitudes of this magnitude, should so 
quickly have controlled the liking' of Churchill. He 
was the poet's elder by four years; his tastes and self- 
indulgences were the same ; he had a character for 
public morality (for those were the days of wide 
separation between public and private morality) as yet 
unimpeached; and when they looked out into pubhc 
life, and spoke of political affairs, they could discover 
no point of disagreement. A curious crisis had 

Nearly forty years were passed since Yoltaire, then a 
resident in London, had been assured by a great many 
persons whom he met, that the Duke of Marlborough was 
a coward, and Mr. Pope a fool. Party went to sleep soon 
after, but had now reawakened to a not less violent 
extreme. The last shadow of grave opposition to the 
House of Hanover vanished with the accession of 
George III in 1760 ; and there was evil as well as good 
in the repose. With the final planting of the principle of 
freedom, implied in the quiet succession of that House, 
men grew anxious to reap its fruit, and saw it nowhere 
within their reach. Pitt's great administration, in the 
latter years of George II, merged these opening dissatis- 


factions in an overruling sense of national glory ; but, with 
the first act of the young King, mth the stroke of the pen 
that made Lord Bute a privy councillor, they rose again. 
Party violence at the same time reawakened ; and, parody- 
ing Yoltaire's remark we may say, that people were now 
existing who called William Pitt a pretender and Bubb 
Dodington a statesman. 

To '' recover monarchy from the inveterate usurpa- 
" tion of oligarchy," was, according to the latter eminent 
person's announcement to his patron, the drift of the Bute 
system. The wisdom of a younger party in more modern 
days, which (copying some peevish phrases of poor Charles 
the First) compares the checks of our English constitution 
to Venetian Doges and Councils of Ten,' had its rise in 
the grave sagacity of Bubb Dodington. The method of 
the proposed ''recovery " was also notable, and has equally 
furnished precedents to later times. It was simply to 
remove from power every man of political distinction, and 
replace hink.-.with a convenient creature. Good means 
were taken. The first election of the new reign was 
remarkable for its gross venality, nor had "undertakers" 
been so rife or so active since the reign of James the First. 
One borough even pubhcly advertised itself for sale; and 
so far, by such means at least, the desired success ap- 
peared within easy reach. But any shrewd observer might 
foresee a great impending change under the proposed new 
system, in the reaction of all this on the temper of the 
people out of doors. Sir Robert "VYalpole did strange 
things with the House of Commons, but for great popular 
purposes ; and already it was manifest enough, that a mere 
bungling imitation of such things, for purposes wholly 
unpopular, would be quite a different matter. In a word, 
it was becoming tolerably clear to such a man as Wilkes, 
who had managed again to effect his return for the 
borough of Aylesbury, that a good day for a Demagogue 
was at hand. 

He possessed the requisites for the character. He was 
clever, courageous, unscrupulous. He was a good scholar, 
expert in resource, humorous, witty, and a ready master 

^ When this Essay was written England party under his protection, 
(early in 1845) Mr. Disraeli had and the expressions referred to will 
taken what was called the Young be found in Coningshy. 

Churchill^ alliance with wilkes. 287 

of the arts of conversation. He could '* abate and dis- 
" solve a pompous gentleman ^' with singular felicity. 
Churchill did not know the crisis of his fortune that had 
driven him to patriotism. He was ignorant, that, early 
in the preceding year, after loss of his last seven thousand 
pounds on his seat for Aylesbury, Mr. Wilkes had made 
an unsuccessful attempt upon the Board of Trade. He was 
not in his confidence when, a little later, Mr. Wilkes 
offered to compromise with Government for the Embassy 
to Constantinople. He was dead when, many years later, 
Mr. Wilkes settled into a quiet supporter of the worst of 
" things as they were." What now presented itself in 
the form of Wilkes to Churchill, had a clear unembar- 
rassed front, — passions unsubdued as his own, principles 
rather unfettered than depraved, apparent manliness of 
spirit, real courage, scorn of conventions, an open heart 
and a liberal hand, and the capacity of ardent friendship. 
They entered at once into an extraordinary alhance, 
offensive and defensive. 

It is idle to deny that this has damaged Churchill with 
posterity, and that Wilkes has carried his advocate along 
with him into the Limbo of doubtful reputations. But 
we will deny the justice of it. It is absolutely due to 
Churchill that we should regard Wilkes from the point of 
view he presented between 1761 and 1764. He was then 
the patriot untried, the chamberlain unbought, befriended 
by Temple, countenanced by Pitt, persecuted by Bute, 
and, in two great questions which affected the vital inter- 
ests of his countrymen, he was the successful assertor 
of English liberty. It is impossible to derive, from any 
part of their intercourse, one honest doubt of the sincerity 
of the poet. He flung himself, with perhaps unwarrantable 
heat^ into Wilkes's personal quarrels ; but even in these, 
if we trouble ourselves to look for it, we find a public 
principle very often implied. The men who had shared 
with Wilkes in the obscene and filthy indulgences of 
Medmenham Abbey, were the same who, after crawling 
to the favourite's feet, had turned upon their old associate 
with disgusting pretences of indignation at his immorality. 
If, in any circumstances, Satire could be forgiven for 
approaching to malignity, it would be in the assailment of 
such men as these. The Eoman senators who met to 


decide the fate of turbots, were not more worthy of the 
wrath of JuvenaL 

As to those Medmenham Abbey proceedings, and the 
fact they indicate, we have nothino^ to urge but that the 
fact should be treated as it was. The late wise and good 
Dr. Arnold lamented that men should speak of religious 
liberty, the liberty being irreligious ; and of freedom of 
conscience, when conscience is only convenience. But we 
must take this time now under consideration as we find it, 
— politics meaning something quite the opposite of morals ; 
and one side shouting for liberty, while the other was 
crying out for authority, without regard in the least to 
what neither liberty nor authority can give us, without 
patient earnestness in other labour of our own, of obe- 
dience, reverence, and self-controL "We before remarked, 
that Churchill's genius was affected by this characteristic 
of the time ; and that what,, as he so often shows, might 
otherwise have lain within his reach, — even Dryden's 
massive strength, even Pope's exquisite delicacy, — this 
arrested. It was this which made his writing the rare 
mixture it too frequently is, of the artificial with the 
natural and impulsive ; which so strangely and fitfully 
blended in him the wholly and the partly true; which 
impaired his force of style with prosaical weakness ; and 
which (to sum up all in one extreme objection), con- 
trolling his feeling for nature and truth by the necessities 
of partisan satire, levelled what he says, in too many 
cases, to a mere bullying reissue of conventional phrases 
and moral commonplace. Yet he knew what the tempta- 
tion should have weigh*ed for, even while he yielded to it; 
and, from the eminence where Satire had placed him, 
only yearned the more eagerly for the heights above. 

*' Broad is the road, nor difficult to find 
Which to the house of Satire leads mankind ; 
Narrow and unfrequented are the ways, 
Scarce found out in an age, which lead to Praise." 

But it is not by the indifferent qualities in his works 
that Charles Churchill should be judged, and, as he has 
too frequently been, condemned. Judge him at his best ; 
judge him by the men whom he followed in this kind of 
composition ; and his claim to the respectful and enduring 

Churchill.'] varieties of satire. 289 

attention of the students of English poetry and litera- 
ture, becomes manifest. Of the gross indecencies of Sir 
Charles Hanbury Williams, he has none. He never, in 
any one instance, whether to fawn upon power or to 
trample upon weakness, wrote licentious lampoons. There 
was not a form of mean pretence, or servile assumption, 
which he did not denounce. Low, pimping politics, he 
abhorred : and that their vile abettors, to whose e:5j:posure 
his works are so incessantly devoted, have not carried 
him into utter oblivion with themselves, sufficiently argues 
for the sound morality and permanent truth expressed in 
his manly verse. He indulged too much in personal 
invective, as we have said ; and invective is too apt to 
pick up, for instant use against its adversaries, the first 
heavy stone that lies by the wayside, without regard to 
its form or fitness. The EngHsh had not, in his day, 
borrowed from the French those nicer sharpnesses of 
satire which can dispense with anger and indignation ; 
and which now, in the verse of Moore and Ber anger, or 
in the prose of our pleasant Mr. Punch, suffice to wage all 
needful war mth hypocrisy and falsehood. 

In justice let us add to this latter admission, that Satire 
seems to us the only species of poetry which appears to 
be better understood than formerly. There is a painful 
fashion of obscurity in verse come up of late years, which 
is marring and misleading a quantity of youthful talent ; 
as if the ways of poetry, like those of steam and other 
wonderful inventions, admitted of original improvements 
at every turn. A writer like Churchill, who thought that 
even Pope had cramped his genius not a little by desert- 
ing the earher and broader track struck out by Dryden, 
may be studied with advantage by this section of young 
England ; and we recommend him for that purpose. 
Southey is excellent authority on a point of the kind ; 
and he held that the injurious efiects of Pope's dictator- 
ship in rhyme were not a little weakened, by the manly, 
free, and vigorous verse of Churchill, during his rule as 
tribune of the people. 

Were we to ofier exception, it would rest chiefly on the 
fourth published poem of Churchill, which followed his 
Night, and precedes what Southey would call his tribu- 
nitial career. This was the first book of the Ghost, con- 



tinued, at later intervals, to tlie extent of four books. 
It was put forth by the poet as a kind of poetical Tristram 
Shandy — a ready resource for a writer who seized care- 
lessly every incident of the hour ; and who, knowing the 
enormous sale his writings could command, sought 
immediate vent for thoughts and fancies too broken and 
irregular for a formal plan. The Ghost, in his own phrase, 

" A mere amusement at tlie most ; 
A trifle fit to wear away 
The horrors of a rainy day ; 
A slight shot-silk for summer wear, 
Just as our modern statesmen are." 

And though it contained some sharply written character, 
such as the well-known sketch of Dr. Johnson (Pomposo), 
and the allusions to laureat Whitehead ' (whom he never 

^ Mr. Cunningham has favoured 
me with a characteristic notice of this 
attack, by Whitehead himself, copied 
from the Nuneham MSS, which is 
well worth preserving in a note. The 
popularity of Churchill is not more 
strikingly reflected in it, than the 
fiue-gentleman airs with which men 
of the class of Mr. Whitehead affected 
to regard him. The distinguished 
laui-eat, it will be observed, is 
shocked to hear from Lord Nuneham 
(to whose letter he is replying) that 
he is alleged to have spoken dis- 
respectfully of Churchill at Lady 
Talbot's, when he really cannot re- 
collect having ever heard the name 
mentioned in such company. Never- 
theless as he procee<ls he seems 
substantially to admit the charge. 
♦' You interest yourself very oblig- 
*'ingly with regard to the abuse 
* ' which the Ghost has thought 
" proper to bestow upon me. But 
*' I think of all those things as a 
*' man of reason ought to do : if 
*' what is said is true, the world 
'* knows it already; if false, it will 
* only in the end hurt the authors 
"of the calumny. In either case 
" one ought to rest contented. As 
" to the speech you talk of at Lady 

*' Talbot's, I really remember 
'' nothing at all of the matter, nor 
" that I ever heard Churchill's 
* ' name mentioned in such company, 
" If I was ever guilty of so vulgar 
" and common place an expression, 
" unless in jest, in any company at 
" all, I should think I deserved a 
" reprimand for it, I may have 
" lamented, and perhaps with in- 
" dignation, his throwing away his 
"talents on subjects unworthy of 
" him, and chusing to be a Poet 
" upon the Town rather than con- 
" suiting the moral dignity of the 
** character, particularly as he was 
*' a clergyman. I think so still, and 
'* am afraid the worst enemy he will 
" ever meet with will be himself. 
'* A little of the dull method 
" he complains of in me would 
"be of infinite service to him, 
' ' for as yet he has written nothing 
'• but Rhapsodys with striking 
" parts in them. His Legitimate 
' ' Works are still to come ; and if 
* ' they ever do come, I shall be 
" one of the first to applaud thena, 
"for I honour the Art though I 
"seldom practise it."— IF. White- 
head to Lord Nuneham, Oct. 24, 

Chur chill. '\ character of warburton. 291 

tires of laughing at) ; and some graceful easy humour, 
such as the fortune-teller's experience of the various 
gullibility of man ; it is not, in any of the higher requi- 
sites, to he compared with his other writings. It is in 
the octo- syllabic measure, only twice adopted by him. 

The reason of his comparative failure in this verse may 
be guessed. Partly no doubt it was, that he had less 
gusto in writing it ; that, not having a peremptory call to 
the subject, he chose a measure which suited his indo- 
lence. Partly also we must take it to be, that the measure 
itself, by the constantly recurring necessity of rhyme (an 
easy necessity), tends to a slatternly diffuseness. The 
heroic line must have muscle as it proceeds, and thus 
tends to strength and concentration. The eight- syllable 
verse relies for its prop on the rhyme ; and, being short, 
tends to do in two lines what the heroic feels bound to do 
in one. Nevertheless he could show his mastery here 
also, when the subject piqued or stirred him ; and there 
are few more effective things in his writings than some 
parts of his character of Warburton, to be found in the 


*' He was so proud, that should he meet 

The twelve Apostles in the street, 

He'd turn his nose up at them all. 

And shove his Saviour from the wall : 

He was so mean (meanness and pride 

Still go together side by side), 

That he would cringe, and creep, be civil, 

And hold a stirrup for the Devil. 

* * * * * 

Brought up to London, from the plow 

And pulpit, how to make a bow 

He tried to learn ; he grew polite, 

And was the Poet's Parasite. 

"With wits conversing (and Wits then 

Were to be found 'mongst Noblemen), 

He caught, or would have caught, the flame, 

And would be nothing, or the same. 

He drank with drunkards, lived with sinners, 

Herded with infidels for dinners ; 

"With such an emphasis and grace 

Blasphemed, that Potter kept not pace : 

He, in the highest reign of noon, 

Bawl'd bawdry songs to a psalm tune ; 

Lived ^vith men infamous and vile. 

Truck' d his salvation for a smile ; 

u 2 

292 DOINGS OF LORD BUTE. \Charles 

To catch their humour caught their plan, 

And laugh' d at God to laugh with man ; 

Praised them, when living, in each breath, 

And damn'd their memories after death. 

' * To prove his faith, which all admit 

Is at least equal to his wit, 

And make himself a man of note. 

He in defence of Scripture wrote : 

So long he wrote, and long about it. 

That e'en believers 'gan to doubt it. 
« * * « « 

In shape scarce of the human kind, 
A man, without a manly mind ; 
No husband, though he's truly wed ; 
Though on his knees a child is bred. 
No father ; injured, without end 
A foe ; and though obliged, no friend ; 
A heart, which virtue ne'er disgrac'd ; 
A head, where learning runs to waste ; 
A gentleman well-bred, if breeding 
Eests in the article of reading ; 
A man of this world, for the next 
"Was ne'er included in his text ; 
A judge of genius, though confess'd 
With not one spark of genius bless'd ; 
Amongst the first of critics plac'd. 
Though free from every taint of taste ; 
A Christian without faith or works. 
As he would be a Turk 'mongst Turks ; 
A great divine, as lords agree. 
Without the least divinity ; 
To crown aU, in declining age, 
Inflamed with church and party rage, 
Behold him, full and perfect quite, 
A false saint, and true hypocrite." 

But to Churcliill's career as fellow-tribiine with Wilkes, 
we now return. The new system had borne rapid fruit. 
In little more than twelve months, Lord Bute, known 
simply before that date as tutor to the heir-apparent, and 
supposed holder of a private key to the apartments of the 
heir-apparent's mother, had made himself a privy- coun- 
cillor; had turned the Duke of Cumberland, and the 
Princess Amelia, out of the liturgy ; had given himself 
the rangership of Richmond Park ; had dismissed Legge 
from the Exchequer, and emptied and filled other offices 
at pleasure ; had made Sir Francis Dashwood, Wilkes's 
quondam associate and predecessor in the colonelcy of 
the Bucks militia, a King's minister; had made Bubb 
Dodington a lord ; had turned out Pitt ; had turned out 

Churchill. ~^ the briton and north briton. 293 

Lord Temple ; had turned out the Duke of Newcastle ; 
had made himself Secretary of State ; had promoted 
himself to he Prime Minister ; had endued himself with 
the order of the Garter ; had appointed to every lucrative 
state office in his gift, some one or other of his countrymen 
from the other side of the Tweed ; and had taken under 
his special patronage a paper called the Briton, written by 
Scotchmen, presided over by Smollett, and started ex- 
pressly to defend these things. " 

They had not, meanwhile, passed unheeded by the 
English people. When Pitt resigned, even Bubb Doding- 
ton, whilst he wished his lordship of Bute all joy of being 
delivered of a " most impracticable colleague, his majesty 
" of a most imperious servant, and the country of a most 
" dangerous minister," was obliged to add, that the peo- 
ple were sullen about it. " Indeed, my good friend," 
answered Bute, " my situation, at all times perilous, is 
" become much more so, for I am no stranger to the 
" language held in this great city : * Our darhng's resig- 
" * nation is owing to Lord Bute, and he must answer for 
" * all the consequences.' '* The truth was, that the 
people of that day, with little absolute power of inter- 
ference in public affairs, but accustomed to hear them- 
selves appealed to by pubKc men, were content to see 
their favourites in office, and to surrender the more 
substantial authority for a certain show of influence with 
such chosen Parliamentary leaders. But, with the words 
of their " darling " ringing in their ears, — that he had 
been called to the ministry by the voice of the people, 
that to them he was accountable, and that he would not 
remain where he could not guide, — they began to suspect 
that they must now help themselves, if they would be 
helped at all. It is a dangerous thing to overstock either 
House with too strong an anti-popular party ; it thrusts 
away into irresponsible quarters too many of the duties of 
opposition. Bute was already conscious of this, when the 
first number of the North Briton appeared. 

The clever Colonel of Buckinghamshire miHtia, like a 
good officer, had warily waited his time. He did not 
apply the match till the train was fully laid, and an 
explosion sure. It has excited surprise that papers of 
such small talent should have proved so effective ; but 


mucli smaller talent would have finished a work so nearly- 
completed by Bute himself. It was the minister, not the 
demagogue, who had arrayed one section of the kingdom 
in bitter hostility against the other. Demagogues can 
never do themselves this service. Big as they talk, they 
are of all classes of the community the most servilely de- 
pendent — mere lackeys to the lowest rank of uninstructed 
statesmen. The trade they ply is in truth a beggarly one, 
being only better than the master's whom they serve ; for, 
bad as it is to live by vexing and exposing a sore, it is worse 
to live by making one. There was violence on Wilkes's 
side ; but there was also, in its rude coarse way, success. 
On the side of his opponents, there was violence, and there 
was incapacity. Wilkes wrote libels in abundance ; only, 
as he wittily expressed it, that he might try to ascertain 
how far the Liberty of the Press could go. But his oppo- 
nents, to quote the characteristic saying of Horace Wal- 
pole, first stabbed the Liberty of the Press in a thousand 
places, and then wrote libels on every rag of its old 

Churchill from the first assisted in the North Briton ; 
and, wherever it shows the coarse broad mark of sincerity, 
there seems to us the trace of his hand. But he was not 
a good prose satirist. He wanted ease, delicacy, and fifty 
requisites beside, with which less able and sincere men 
have made that kind of work eff'ective. He could sharpen 
his arrow-heads well, but without the help of verse could 
not wing them on their way. Of this he became himself 
so conscious, that, when a masterly subject for increase of 
the rancour against the Scotch presented itself, and he 
had sent the paper to press for the North Briton, he 
brought it back from the printer, suppressed it, and recast 
it into verse. Wilkes saw it in progress, and praised it 
exultingly. " It is personal, it is poetical, it is poKtical," 
cried the delighted demagogue. " It must succeed ! " 
The Prophecy of Famine, a satire on Scotland and Scotch- 
men, appeared in January 1763, and did indeed ftdfil the 
prophecy of Wilkes. 

Its success was most remarkable. Its sale was rapid 
and extensive to a degree altogether without precedent. . 
English Whigs were in raptures, and the Annual Register 
protested that Mr. Pope was quite outdone. Scotch place- 

Chur chill ?\ plaguing the scotch. 295 

hunters outstripped even the English players, in their 
performance of the comedy of fear ; for they felt, ^dth a 
yet surer instinct than that of SWt's spider Avhen the 
broom approached, that to all intents and pui^poses of 
their existence the judgment- day was come. JN^othing 
could have dehghted Churchill as this did. The half- 
crowns that poured into his exchequer made no music 
comparable to that of these clients of Lord Bute, sigliing 
and moaning in discontented groups around the place- 
bestowing haunts of Westminster. He indulged liis 
exuberance of delight, indeed, with characteristic oddity 
and self-wiQ. "I remember well," says Dr. Kippis, 
" that he dressed his younger son in a Scotch plaid, Hke 
" a Little Highlander, and carried him everywhere in that 
" garb. The boy, being asked by a gentleman with whom 
'' I was in company, why he was clothed in such a man- 
" ner ? answered with great vivacity, Bir, my father hates 
" the Scotch, and does it to lolague them ! " The anecdote 
is good. On the one side, there is what we may call 
attending to one's child's habits ; and on the other, a 
satisfactory display of hereditary candour and impudence. 
There is also a fine straightforward style. Johnson him- 
self could not have related the motive better. Put " his " 
instead of " my," and it is precisely what Johnson would 
have said. BosicelL — Sir, why does Churchill's little boy 
go about in a Scotch dress ? Johnson. — Sir, his father 
hates the Scotch, and does it to plague them ! 

He plagued them thoroughly, that is certain ; and with 
good cause. We need not tenderly excuse ourselves, by 
Boswell's example, for admiring the Projohecy of Famine. 
" It is indeed /a/se/y applied to Scotland," says that good 
North Briton ; " but on that account may be allowed a 
" greater share of invention." We need not darken what 
praise we give, by the reservations of the last amiable and 
excellent historian of England. " It may yet be read," 
says Lord Mahon, " with all the admiration which the 
*' most vigorous powers of verse, and the most lively 
" touches of witm^^ earn, in the cause of slander andfahe- 
" hood.'' It seems to us that, without either forced 
apologies or hard words, we may very frankly praise this 
Prophecy of Famine. A great poet and a faithful Scotch- 
man, Mr. Thomas Campbell, did not scruple to say of it, 


that even to the community north of Tweed its laughable 
extravagance should avail to sheathe its sting; and in 
truth it is so written, that what was meant for the time 
has passed away with its virulent occasion, and left 
behind it but the lively and lasting colours of wit and 
poetry. ''Dowdy Natiirey^ to use the exquisite phrase 
with which it so admirably contrasts the flaring and 
ridiculous vices of the day, has here too reclaimed her 
own, and dismissed the rest as false pretences. We 
should as soon think of gravely questioning its Scotch 
*'cameleon," as of arguing against its witty and masterly 
exaggerations. With consummate ease it is written; 
sharp readiness of expression keeping pace with swiftest 
ease of conception, and with never the least loitering at 
a thought, or labouring of a word. In this peculiar ear- 
nestness and gusto of manner, it is as good as the writers 
of Dryden's more earnest century. Marvel might have 
painted the Highland lass who forgot her want of food, 
as she listened to madrigals all natural though rude ; " and, 
" whilst she scratch'd her lover into rest, sank pleased, 
" though hungry, on her Sawney's breast." Like Marvel, 
too, is the starving scene of withering air, through which 
no birds " except as birds of passage " flew ; and which 
no flower embalmed but one white rose, " which, on the 
'' tenth of June, by instinct blows " — the Jacobite em- 
blem, and the Pretender's birthday. In grasp of descrip- 
tion, and a larger reach of satire, the Cave of Famine 
ranks higher still. The creatures which, when admitted 
in the ark, " their Saviour shunn'd, and rankled in the 
" dark ; " the webs of more than common size, where 
" half- starved spiders prey'd on half- starved flies ; " are 
worthy of the master-hand of Dryden. But the reader 
will thank us for printing in detail the portions of the 
poem to which we have thus referred. 

" Two boys, whose birth beyond all question springs 
From great and glorious, though forgotten, kings, 
Shepherds of Scottish lineage, born and bred 
On the same bleak and barren mountain's head, 
By niggard nature doom'd on the same rocks 
To spin out life, and starve themselves and flocks, 
Fresh as the moniing, which, enrob'd in mist, 
The mountain's top with usual dulness kiss'd, 
Jockey and Sawney to their labours rose ; 
Soon clad I ween, where nature needs no clothes, 

Churchill.'] witty exaggerations. 297 

"Where, from their youth enur'd to winter skies, 
Dress and her vain refinements they despise. 

*' Jockey, whose manly high-boned cheeks to crown, 
With freckles spotted flara'd the golden down, 
With meikle art could on the bag-pipes play, 
E'en from the rising to the setting day ; 
Sawney as long without remorse could bawl 
Home's madrigals, and ditties from Fingal. 
Oft, at his strains, all natural though rude, 
The Highland lass forgot her want of food. 
And, whilst she scratch' d her lover into rest, 
Sunk pleased, though hungry, on her Sawney's breast. 

'* Far as the eye could reach, no tree was seen, 
Earth, clad in russet, scorn' d the lively green. 
The plague of locusts they secure defy, 
For in three hours a grasshopper must die. 
Ifo living thing, whate'er its food, feasts there, 
But the Cameleon, who can feast on air. 
No birds, except as birds of passage, flew ; 
No bee was known to hum, no dove to coo. 
No streams, as amber smooth, as amber clear, 
AVere seen to glide, or heard to warble here. 
Rebellion's spring, which through the country ran, 
Furnish' d, mth bitter draughts, the steady clan. 
No flowers embalm'd the air, but one white rose, 
Which, on the tenth of June, by instinct blows. 
By instinct blows at mom, and, when the shades 
Of drizzly eve prevail, by instinct fades. 

" One, and but one poor solitary cave, 
Too sparing of her favours, nature gave ; 
That one alone (hard tax on Scottish pride !) 
Shelter at once for man and beast supplied. 
There snares without entangling briars spread, 
And thistles, arm'd against the invader's head, 
Stood in close ranks, all entrance to oppose. 
Thistles now held more precious than the rose. 
All creatures which, on nature's earliest plan. 
Were form'd to loath, and to be loath'd by man, 
Which owed their birth to nastiness and spite, 
Deadly to touch, and hateful to the sight, 
Creatures which, when admitted in the ark. 
Their Saviour shunn'd, and rankled in the dark. 
Found place within : marking her noisome road 
With poison's trail, here crawl'd the bloated toad ; 
There webs were spread of more than common size. 
And half-starved spiders prey'd on half-starved flies ; 
In quest of food, efts strove in vain to crawl ; 
Slugs, pinch'd with hunger, smear'd the slimy wall ; 
The cave around Avith hissing serpents rung ; 
On the damp roof unhealthy vapour hung ; 
And Famine, by her children always known. 
As proud as poor, here lix'd her native throne." 

We cannot leave the poem without remarking the in- 
genuity of praise it has extorted from Mr. Tooke. It 


has been observed of it, he says, and for himself he 
adopts the observation, " that the author displays peculiar 
" skill in throwing his thoughts into poetical paragraphs, 
" so that the sentence swells to the conclusion, as in 
" prose ! " This we must call the first instance, within 
our knowledge, of an express eulogy of poetry on the 
ground of its resemblance to prose. Dr. Johnson was 
wont to note a curious delusion in his day, which has 
prevailed very generally since, that people supposed they 
were writing poetry when they did not write prose. Mr. 
Tooke and his friend represent the delusion of supposing 
poetry to be but a better sort of prose. 

Churchill was now a marked man. He had an un- 
bounded popularity with what are called the middle 
classes ; he had the hearty praise of the Temple section 
of Whigs ; he was " quoted and signed " by the minis- 
terial faction, for some desperate deed they but waited the 
opportunity desperately to punish ; he was the common 
talk, the theme of varied speculation, the very " comet of 
" the season," with all men. There had been no such 
sudden and wide popularity within the memory of any 
one living. The advantage of the position was obvious ; 
and his friends would have had him discard the ruffles 
and gold lace, resume his clerical black coat, and turn it 
to what account he could. *' His most intimate friends," 
says the good Dr. Kippis, " thought his laying aside the 
" external decorums of his profession a blameable oppo- 
" sition to the decencies of life, and likely to be hurtful 
" to his interest ; since the abilities he was possessed of, 
" and the figure he made in political contests, would 
" perhaps have recommended him to some noble patron, 
" from whom he might have received a valuable bene- 
" fice ! " Ah ! good-natured friends ! Could this un- 
thinking man but have looked in the direction of a good 
benefice, with half the liquorish ardour of patriot Wilkes 
to his ambassadorships and chamberlainships in pros- 
pect, no doubt it might have fallen into his lap. What 
tolly, then, to disregard it, and all for the pleasure of 
abusing what it would have been far more easy to praise ! 

What but rank folly, for thy curse decreed, 
Could into Satire's barren path mislead, 

ChurchilLI above temptations of power. 299 

"When, open to thy view, before thee lay 
Soul-soothing Panegyric's floweiy way ? 
There might the Muse have saunter' d at her ease, 
And pleasing others, learn' d herself to please ; 
Lords should have listen'd to the sugar'd treat, 
And ladies, simpering, own'd it vastly sweet ; 
Eogucs, in thy prudent verse mth virtue graced, 
Fools, mark'd by thee as prodigies of taste. 
Must have forbid, pouring preferments do^va, 
Such wit, such truth as thine to quit the Gown. 
Thy sacred brethren too (for they no less 
Than laymen, bring their offerings to success) 
Had liail'd thee good if great, and paid the vow 
Sincere as that they pay to God, whilst thou 
In lawn hadst whisper'd to a sleeping crowd, 
As dull as Rochester, and half as proud." 

But even the lawn itself, there is much reason to be- 
lieve, would not have tempted Churchill. He " lacked 
" preferment '' as little as the Prince of Denmark himself. 
He had no thought that way. He had no care but for 
what he had in hand ; that, whilst he could hold the pen, 
" no rich or noble knave, should walk the earth in credit 
" to the grave," beneficed or unbeneficed. There was 
not a dispenser of patronage or power, though " kings 
" had made him more, than ever king a scoundrel made 
" before," whom he would have flattered or sohcited. It 
was when his friend was sounding a noble acquaintance 
and quondam associate as to chances of future em- 
ployment, that with sullen sincerity he was writing to his 
friend, *' I fear the damned aristocracy is gaining ground 
" in this country. •* It was when his friend was medi- 
tating the prospective comforts of a possible mission to 
Constantinople, that he was beneath the portrait of his 
friend devoutly subscribing the line of Pope, 

*' A soul supreme in each hard instance tried." 

When Horace "Walpole anticipated the figure these days 
would cut in history, and laughingly described to his dear 
Marshal Conway how that the Warburtons and Grono- 
viuses of future ages would quote them, then living, like 
their wicked predecessors the Romans, as models of pa- 
triotism and magnanimity, till their very ghosts must 
blush ; when he painted the great duke, and the little 
duke, and the old duke, and the Derbyshire dulvc, aU- 


powerful if they could but do what they could not — hold 
together and not quarrel for the plunder ; when he set 
before him stark-mad opposition patriots, abusing one 
another more than anybody else, and Caesar and Pompey 
scolding in the temple of concord, — though he did not 
omit Mr. Satirist Churchill from the motley scene, even 
Walpole did not think of impugning his rough plain- 
speaking sincerity. *' Pitt more eloquent than Demo- 
" sthenes, and trampling on proffered pensions like .... 
" I don't know who ; Lord Temple sacrificing a brother 
" to the love of his country ; Wilkes as spotless as Sallust ; 
" and the flamen Churchill knocking down the foes of 
" Britain with statues of the gods ! " Certain it is, that, 
with far less rich material than statues of the gods, 
Churchill transacted his work. It was a part of his hatred 
of the hypocrisies to work with what he had before him, 
— small ungodlike politicians enough, whom he broke 
and trampled into infinitesimal pieces, and so constructed 
the road over which Pitt passed into power. 

Meanwhile his private life went on, in its impetuous 
rounds of dissipation, energy, and self-reproach ; hurried 
through fierce extremes, by contrast made more fierce. 
One of his existing notes to Garrick is the record of a 
drunken brawl, one of his letters to Wilkes the after 
penance of repentance ; and painful is the recurrence of 
these and like confessions, in such fragments of his rough, 
reckless, out-spoken letters, as chance has preserved for us. 

Unable further to resist the storm that had been raised 
against him, Bute resigned on the 8th of April 1763. 
The formation of the new Ministry, with Dashwood en- 
nobled as Lord le Despenser; with another monk of 
Medmenham Abbey, Lord Sandwich, popularly known as 
Jemmy Ticitcher^ placed a few months later at the Admi- 
ralty ; and with Lord Halifax, Secretary of State ; is to 
be read of, to this day, in the histories, or it might possi- 
bly be disbelieved. '* And so Lord Sandwich and Lord 
" Halifax are statesmen, are they ? " wrote Gray. *' Do 
" not you remember them dirty boys playing cricket ? " 
They were still as dirty, and still playing out their 
game ; only the game was much less reputable. " It is a 
" great mercy," exclaimed Lord Chesterfield, " to think 
" that Mr. Wilkes is the intrepid defender of our rights 

Churchill.'\ number forty-five. 301 

" and liberties ; and no less a mercy that God liath 
" raised up tlie Earl of Sandwh to vindicate our reKgion 
" and morality." 

The histories also record the pubHcation, on the 23rd 
of April in the same year, of the forty-fifth number of the 
JN'orth Briton. A new Ministry has great superfluous 
energy, and an evil hankering to use it. The wished-for 
occasion was supposed to have come ; the new Ministers 
thought, at any rate, that what Walpole calls a cotip-d' eclat 
might make up for their own absui'd insignificance ; and 
on the information of the pubHsher, who was arrested and 
examined with the supposed printer, " that Mr. Wilkes 
" gave orders for the printing, and that Mr. Churchill 
" (the poet) received the profits arising from the sale," 
warrants were issued for the arrest of Wilkes and 

The great questions that arose upon these warrants, 
and Wilkes's vindication through them of the most 
valuable privileges of English freedom, are well-known 
matters of history. Some curious incidents, preserved 
in his second letter to the Duke of Grafton, are less 
notorious. "I desired to see the warrant," he writes, 
after describing the arrival of the King's messenger. 
" He said it was against the authors, printers, and pub- 
" lishers of the JVorth Briton, No. 45, and that his verbal 
" orders were, to arrest Mr. Wilkes. I told him the 
" warrant did not respect me ; that such a warrant was 
" absolutely illegal and void in itself; that it was a 
" ridiculous warrant against the whole EngHsh nation " 
(in effect, forty- eight persons were attacked under it : 
pubHshers were dragged from their beds, and whole 
officefuls of printers placed within durance) ; " and I 
" asked why he would rather serve it on me, than on the 
" Lord Chancellor, or either of the Secretaries, or Lord 
" Bute, or Lord Corke, my next-door neighbour. The 
" answer was, lam to arrest Mr. Wilkes. About an hour 
" afterwards two other messengers arrived, and several 
" of their assistants. While they were with me, Mr. 
" Churchill came into the room. I had heard that their 
" verbal orders were hkewdse to apprehend him, but I 
" suspected they did not know his person ; and, by 
" presence of mind, I had the happiness of saving my 


" friend. As soon as Mr. Clmrcliill entered the room, I 
" accosted him : ' Good-morrow, Mr. Thomson. ; How 
" * does Mrs. Thomson do to-day ? Does she dine in the 
" ' country ? ' Mr. Churchill thanked me ; said she then 
" waited for him ; that he had only come for a moment 
" to ask me how I did ; and almost directly took his 
" leave. He went home immediately, secured all his 
" papers, and retired into the country. The messengers 
" could never get intelligence where he was. The fol- 
" lowing week he came to town, and was present both the 
" days of hearing at the Court of Common Pleas." 

On the second day, another was present : a Man whose 
name is now one of our English household words, but 
who unhappily thought more of himself that day as the 
King's Serjeant painter — a dignity he had just received 
and was to wear for some brief months — than as that 
painter of the people who from youth to age had con- 
tended against every form of hypocrisy and vice, and, 
the unbribed and unpurchasable assailant of public and 
private corruption, was to wear such higher dignity for 
ever. As Chief Justice Pratt delivered his immortal 
judgment against General Warrants, Hogarth was seen 
in a comer of the Common Pleas, pencil and sketch-book 
in hand, fixing the famous caricature from which Wilkes, 
as long as caricature shall last, will squint upon posterity. 
Nor was it his first pictorial offence. The caricaturing 
had begun some little time before, greatly to the grief 
both of Wilkes and Churchill ; for Hogarth was on 
friendly terms with both, and had indeed, within the 
past two years, drunk " divine milk-punch " with them 
and Sir Francis Dashwood, in the neighbourhood of 
Medmenham Abbey. Disregarding their earnest remon- 
strance, however, he assailed Pitt and Temple at the 
close of the preceding year in his first print of the Times. 
The North Briton retaliated, and the present caricature 
of Wilkes was Hogarth's rejoinder. It stung Churchill 
past the power of silence.* 


^ Ah unpublished letter ot the plate of " The Times," in 

Churchill's is before me, which September 1762. The letter is 

shows that open war between worth quoting for other reasons. 

Hogarth and Churchill was declared *' Dear Garrick," it begins, "Mrs. 

immediately after the publication of ' ' Churchill, that sweetest and best 




The Epistle to William Hogarth was published in July 
1763. With here and there those strangely prosaic lines 
which appear in almost all his writings, and in which he 
seems to make careless and indolent escape from the 
subtler and more original words alike at his command, 
this was a dashing and vigorous work. With an avowal 
that could hardly have been pleasing to Wilkes himself, 
that railing thousands and commending thousands were 
alike uncared for by the writer, it struck Hogarth where 
he was weakest : as well in that subjection to vanity 

* ' of women, having entertained me 
" with some large and unexpected 
" demands from Grloucester, I should 
' ' take it as a very particular favour 
" it you would give me leave to 
' * draw on you next week for between 
" forty and fifty pounds. There is 
" likely to become high fun between 
*' Talbot and Wilkes — the immortal 
" Passado. The only thing I like 
" my gown for, is the exemption 
*' from challenges." So far from 
desiring exemption from challenges, 
however, he would eagerly have 
braved them, and already his gown 
had been replaced by a gold-laced 
coat ; but there was also, it is need- 
less to remark, a bravado in afi'ect- 
ing to be afraid. He continues : 
"I am bringing out — first telling 
" you that the Ghost walks at 
*' Hampton on Wednesday next — a 
'^Scotch Eclogue beginning thus." 
He then transcribes the first twenty- 
four lines of the Prophecy of Famine, 
with evident and just satisfaction in 
them ; but, as only four lines in this 
rough draft differ in any respect 
from the printed poem (as already 
quoted ante, p. 296-7), they are all 
that need here be repeated. 

** Jockey and Sawney to their labours 

rose — 
Soon drest, I wean, where Nature 

needs no cloaths, 
Where, blest with genial suns and 

summer skies, 
Dress and her vain refinements they 


In revising the poem for the press, he 

doubtless saw at once that the third 
of these lines was out of keeping with 
the *' mist" and " dulness" dwelt 
upon in the earlier part of the de- 
scription. The letter thus concludes : 
'* 1 have seen Hogarth's print ; sure 
"it is much unequal to the former 
' ' productions of that master of 
* ' humour. I am happy to find that 
" he hath at last declared himself, 
" for there is no credit to be got by 
' ' breaking flies upon a wheel . But 
" Hogarth's are subjects worthy of 
** an Englishman's pen. Speedily 
" will be published, an Epistle to 
" W. Hogarth, byC. Churchill. 

' Pictoribus atque Poetis 
Quidlibet audendi semper fuit aequa 

" I was t'other day at Richmond, 
" but lost much of the pleasure I 
' ' had promised myself, being dis- 
* ' appointed of seeing you." An al- 
lusion follows, not quotable, to the 
Pagoda. ' ' 1 long for the opening 
" of the House on many accounts, 
" but on none more than the oppor- 
" tunity it will give me of seeing 
" that little whimsical fellow Gar- 
" rick, and that most agreeable of 
" women, to whom I am always 
" proud of being remembered — 
" Mrs. Garrick. Hubert, I hear, 
" has got a weakness in his eyes. 
" I am. Dear Garrick, 
*' yours most sincerely, 

" Charles Churchill." 

The only date to this letter is 
' ' Satui-day night." 


which his friends confessed in him, as in that enslavement 
to all the unquiet distrusts of Envy, " who, with giant 
" stride, stalks through the vale of life hy virtue's side,'^ 
which he had even confessed in himself. We do not like 
to dwell upon it, so great is our respect for Hogarth's 
genius ; hut, at the least, it spared that genius. Amid its 
savage ferocity against the man, it was remarkable for 
a noble tribute to the artist. It predicted the duration 
of his works to the most distant age ; and the great 
painter's power to curse and bless, it rated as that of " a 
" little god below." 

•' Justice with equal course bids Satire flow, 
And loves the virtue of her greatest foe. 
Oh ! that I here could that rare Virtue mean, 
Which scorns the rule of envy, pride, and spleen, 
"Which springs not from the labour' d works of art, 
But hath its rise from Nature in the heart ; 
Which in itself with happiness is crown'd, 
And spreads with joy the blessing all around ! 
But Truth forbids, and in these simple lays, 
Contented with a different kind of praise. 
Must Hogarth stand ; that praise which Genius gives, 
In which to latest time the Artist Hves, 
But not the Man ; which, rightly understood. 
May make us great, but cannot make us good. 
That praise be Hogarth's ; freely let him wear 
The wreath which Genius wove, and planted there. 
Foe as J am, should Envy tear it down, 
Myself would labour to replace the crown. 

*' In walks of humour, in that cast of style, ^ 
Which, probing to the quick, yet makes us smile ; 
In Comedy, his natural road to fame, 
Nor let me call it by a meaner name. 
Where a beginning, middle, and an end, 
Are aptly join'd ; where parts on parts depend, 
Each made for each, as bodies for their soul, 
So as to form one true and perfect whole ; 
Where a plain story to the eye is told, 
Which we conceive the moment we behold ; 
Hogarth unrivall'd stands, and shall engage 
UnrivaU'd praise to the most distant age." 

But this did not avail against the terrible severity. 
There is a passage beginning, " Hogarth. I take thee, 

* The poetical reader who is star- text, he will constantly find in his 

tied by this weak expression in the wi-itings, with regret and disap- 

midst of lines so masterly, must pointment, such indolent escapes 

yet accept it as characteristic of frointbeproper exercise of his vigour 

Churchill : for, as we observe in the and genius. 


" Candour, at thy word f marked by a racy, idiomatic, 
conversational manner, flinging into relief the most deadly 
abuse, which we must think fairly appalling. All who 
knew the contending parties stood aghast. " Pray let me 
" know," wrote Garrick, then ^dsiting at Chatsworth, to 
Colman, " how the town speaks of our friend Churchill's 
" Epistle. It is the most bloody performance that has 
" been published in my time. I am very desirous to 
" know the opinion of people, for I am really much, 
" very much hurt at it. His description of his age and 
" infirmities is surely too shocking and barbarous. Is 
'' Hogarth really ill, or does he meditate revenge ? Every 
" article of news about these matters will be most agree- 
" able to me. Pray, write me a heap of stnff, for I can- 
*' not be easy till I know all about Churchill and Hogarth." 
And of course the lively actor sends his "loves " to both 
Hogarth and Churchill. " Send me Churchill's poem on 
"Hogarth," writes old money-loving Lord Bath from 
Spa ; " but, if it be long, it will cost a huge sum in post- 
" age." With his rejoinder, such as it was, Hogarth lost 
little time. He issued for a shilling, before the month 
was out, " The Bruiser, C. Churchill (once the Rev), in 
" the character of a Russian Hercules, regaling himself 
" after having killed the monster Caricatura, that so 
" sorely galled his virtuous friend, the heaven-born 
" Wilkes." It was a bear, in torn clerical bands, and 
with paws in ruffles ; with a pot of porter that has just 
visited his jaws hugged on his right, and with a knotted 
club of Lies and North Britons clutched on his left ; to 
which, in a later edition of the same print, he added a 
scoffing caricature of Pitt, Temple, and Wilkes.' The 
poet meanwhile wrote to tell the latter, who had gone 
to Paris to place his daughter at school, that, Hogarth 
having violated the sanctities of private life in this 
caricature, he meant to pay it back with an Elegy, suppos- 
ing him dead ; but that a lady at his elbow was dissuading 

1 Portraits of Churchill are so rare The poet has a pen In his hand, and 

that it may be worth while men- before him a letter, addressed to 

tioning one at Lord Northampton's "Wilkes in Paris. It was presented 

hospital at Greenwich, evidently of to the hospital in 1837^ by Mr, 

about this date, kit-katt size, and Tatham, then warden, 
not in good condition, but genuine. 

806 THE poet's mistress. [Charles 

him with, tlie flattery (and " how sweet is flattery," he 
interposes, " from the woman we love ! ") that already 
Hogarth was killed. 

That the offending painter was already killed, Walpole 
and others beside this nameless lady also affirmed ; and 
Colman boldly avouched in print, that the Ejmtle had 
" snapped the last cord of poor Hogarth's heartstrings." 
But men like Hogarth do not snap their heartstrings so 
easily. The worst that is to be said of the fierce assault 
is bad enough. It embittered the last years of a great 
man's life; and the unlooked-for death, soon after, of 
assailant and assailed within only nine days of each other, 
prevented the reconciliation which would surely, sooner or 
later, have vindicated their common genius, the hearty 
English feeling which they shared, and their common 
cordial hatred of the falsehoods and pretences of the 

The woman whose flattery Churchill loved, may not 
be omitted from his history. His connexion with her, 
which began some little time before this, gave him greater 
emotion and anxiety than any other incident of his life. 
" I forgot to tell you," writes Walpole to Lord Hertford, 
" and you may wonder at hearing nothing of the Rev. 
" Mr. Charles Pylades, while Mr. John Orestes is making 
" such a figure ; but Doctor Pylades, the poet, has for- 
" saken his consort and the muses, and is gone off with a 
" stone-cutter's daughter. If he should come and offer 
" himself to you for chaplain of the embassy !" The cir- 
cumstance has since been told by a sincerer man ; and we 
shall alike avoid the danger of too much leniency, and too 
great a severity, if we give it in his temperate language. 
" He became intimate with the daughter of a tradesman 
" in Westminster," says Southey in the Life of Cowper 
(she is described by others as the daughter of a highly 
respectable sculptor), " seduced her, and prevailed on 
" her to quit her father's house and live with him. But 
*' his moral sense had not been thoroughly depraved ; a 
*' fortnight had not elapsed before both parties were struck 
" with sincere compunction, and through the intercession 
'* of a true friend, at their entreaty, the unhappy penitent 
" was received by her father. It is said she would have 
*' proved worthy of this parental forgiveness, if an elder 

Churchill.'] poem of the conference. 307 

" sister had not, by continued taunts and reproaclies, ren- 
" dered her life so miserable, that, in absolute despair, 
" she threw herself upon Churchill for protection." He 
again received her, and they lived together till his death ; 
but he did *iot, to himself or others, attempt to vindicate 
this passage in his career. A poem called the Conference, 
in which an imaginary lord and himself are the interlocu- 
tors, happened to engage him at the time ; and he took 
occasion to give public expression to his compunction and 
self-reproach, in a very earnest and affecting manner. 

It may be well to quote the lines. They are not merely 
a confession of remorse, — they are also a proud profession 
of political integrity, in which all men may frankly believe. 
The poem, one of his master-pieces, followed the Epistle 
to Hogarth ; right in the wake of the abundant personal 
slander which had followed that work, and of the occur- 
rence we have named. It began with a good picture of 
my Lord lolling backward in his elbow-chair, " with an 
" insipid kind of stupid stare, picking his teeth, twirling 
" his seals about — Churchill, you have a poem coming 
" out V^ The dialogue then begins ; and some expressions 
are forced from Churchill as to the straits of life he has 
passed, and as to the public patronage, his soul abhorring 
all private help, which has brought him safe to shore. 
Alike secure from dependence and pride, he says, he is 
not placed so high to scorn the poor, " Nor yet so low 
" that I my Lord should fear. Or hesitate to give him 
" sneer for sneer." But that he is able to be kind to 
others, to himself most true, and feeling no want, can 
'' comfort those who do," he proudly avers to be a public 
debt. Upon this the Lord rebukes him, setting forth the 
errors of his private life. 

*' Think (and for once lay by thy lawless pen), 
Think, and confess thyself like other men ; 
Think but one hour, and, to thy conscience led 
By reason's hand, bow down and hang thy head. 
Think on thy private life, recall thy youth. 
View thyself now, and own, with strictest truth, 
That Self hath drawn thee from fair virtue's way 
Farther than Folly would have dared to stray, 
And that the talents liberal Nature gave 
To make thee free, have made thee more a slave." 

The reproach draws from him this avowal : 

X 2 


" Ah ! what, my Lord, hath private life to do 
With things of public nature ? why to view 
Would you thus cruelly those scenes unfold 
Which, without pain and horror, to behold. 
Must speak me something more, or less than man ; 
Which friends may pardon, but I never can ! ^ 
Look back ! a thought which borders on despair, 
Which human nature must, but cannot bear. 
'Tis not the babbling of a busy world. 
Where praise and censure are at random hurl'd, 
Which can the meanest of my thoughts control, 
Or shake one settled purpose of my soul. 
Free and at large might their wild courses roam, 
If All, if All, alas ! were well at home. 
No ! 'tis the tale which angry Conscience tells, 
When she with more than tragic horror swells 
Each circumstance of guilt ; when stern, but true. 
She brings bad actions forth into review ; 
And, like the dread handwriting on the wall, 
Bids late remorse awake at reason's call, 
Arm'd at all points, bids scorpion vengeance pass, 
And to the mind hold up reflection's glass. 
The mind, which starting, heaves the heart-felt groan, 
And hates that form she knows to be her own. 
Enough of this. Let private sorrows rest. 
As to the Public I dare stand the test : 
Dare proudly boast, I feel no wish above 
The good of England, and my Country's love." 

This man's heart was in the right place. " Where is 
" the bold Churchill," cried Garrick, when he heard of 
the incident as he travelled in Rome. " What a noble 
*' ruin ! When he is quite undone, you shall send him 
" here, and he shall be shown among the great frag- 
" ments of Roman genius, magnificent in ruin ! " But 
not yet was he quite imdone. His weakness was as great 
as his strength, but his vices were not so great as his 
virtues. After all, in the unequal conflict thus plainly 
and unaff'ectedly revealed by himself, those vices had the 
worst of it. What rarely happens, indeed, where such high 
claims exist, has happened here, and the loudest outcry 
against the living Churchill has had the longest echo in 
our judgment of the dead ; but there is a most affecting 
voice, in this and other passages of his writings, which 
enters on his better behalf the final and sufficing appeal. 
Nor were some of his more earnest contemporaries with- 
out the justice and generosity to give admission to it, even 
while he lived. As hero of a scene which shows the range 
of his character wider than the limits of his family, his 

Churchill.'] affecting anecdote. 309 

dependents, or liis friends (for the kite can be as comfort- 
able to the brood beneath her as the pelican or dove), the 
youn^-hearted and enthusiastic Charlej Johnson took 
occasion to depict Charles Churchill in Chrymly or the 
Adventures of a Guinea. 

Whilst he was one night " staggering" home, as the nar- 
rative tells us, after a supper in which spirited wit and live- 
liness of conversation, as well as rectitude and sublimity 
of sentiment, had gilded gross debauchery, a girl of the 
street addressed him. " Her figure was elegant, and her 
" features regular ; but want had sicklied o'er their beauty ; 
" and all the horrors of despair gloomed through the lan- 
" guid smile she forced, when she addressed him." The 
sigh of distress, which never struck his ear without afTect- 
ing his heart, came with double force from such an object. 
He viewed her with silent compassion for some moments ; 
and, reaching her a piece of gold, bade her go home and 
shelter herself from the inclemencies of the night at 
so untimely an hour. Her surprise and joy at this unex- 
pected charity overpowered her. She dropped upon her 
knees in the wet and dirt of the street, and raising her 
hands and eyes toward heaven, remained in that pos- 
ture for some moments, unable to give utterance to the 
gratitude that filled her heart. Churchill raised her 
tenderly ; and, as he would have pressed some instant 
refreshment upon her, she spoke of her mother, her 
father, and her infant brother, perishing of want in the 
garret she had left. " Good God ! " he exclaimed, " I'll 
" go with you myself directly ! But, stop. Let us first 
" procure nourishment from some of the houses kept open 
" at this late hour for a very different purpose. Come 
" with me ! We have no time to lose." With this he 
took her to a tavern, loaded her with as much of the best 
as she could carry, and, putting two bottles of wine in his 
own pocket, walked with her to her miserable home. 
There, with what pains he could, he assuaged the misery, 
more appalling than he fancied possible ; passed the 
whole night in ofiices of the good Samaritan ; nor changed 
his dress next morning till he had procured them "anew 
" and better lodging, and provided for their future com- 
" fort ; when, repressing as he could their prayers and 
" blessings he took leave." How the recording angel 


sets down such scenes, and enters up the debtor and cre- 
ditor account of such a man, My Uncle Toby has written. 

The interval of absence from London during the pro- 
gress of the case of the General Warrants, he passed at 
Oxford, with Colman and Bonnell Thornton ; and in 
Wales, with her who had asked from him the protection 
she knew not where else to seek, and whom he ever after 
treated as his left-handed wife, united to him by indis- 
soluble ties. On hjs return, in the autumn of 1763, he 
heard that Eobert Lloyd had been thrown into the Fleet. 
The Magazine he was engaged in had failed, and a dispute 
as to the proprietorship suddenly overwhelmed him with 
its debts. Churchill went to him ; comforted him as none 
else could ; provided a servant to attend him as long as 
his imprisonment should last ; set apart a guinea a-week 
for his better support in the prison ; and at once began a 
subscription for the gradual and full discharge of his 
heavy responsibilities. There was all the gratitude of the 
true poet in this : for, whatever may be said to the con- 
trary, poets are grateful. Dr. Lloyd had been kind to 
Churchill, and Churchill never deserted Dr. Lloyd's son. 
And when, some few months later, he pointed his satire 
against the hollow Maecenases of the day, — in rebuke to 
their affected disclaimer of his charge that they would 
have left a living Yirgil to rot, he bade the vain boasters 
to the Fleet repair, and ask, " with blushes ask, if Lloyd 
" is there ? " 

We have called Churchill a true poet, and such, quite 
apart from his satirical power, we hold him to have been. 
Here, therefore, may be the place to offer one or two 
examples of the steady development of his genius, in 
despite of the reckless misgovernment of his life ; and of 
the higher than satirical uses to which, if longer life had 
been spared to him, so true a genius must ultimately have 
been devoted. For this purpose we anticipate a little, 
and from a poem published some months after the pre- 
sent date take three passages that will richly assert its 
claim to have escaped the comparative oblivion into which 
it has most undeservedly fallen. The first (where the 
opening lines may recall the happy turns of Goldsmith) 
is an allusion to the Indian and American conquests, and 
the great question of 

Chur chill. '\ England and her conquests. 311 


* * Happy the Savage of those early times, 
Ere Europe's sons were known, and Europe's crimes ! 
Gold, cursed gold ! slept in the womb of earth, 
Unfelt its mischiefs, as unknown its worth ; 
In full content he found the truest wealth ; 
In toil he found diversion, food, and health ; 
Stranger to ease and luxury of courts. 
His sports were labours, and his labours sports ; 
His youth was hardy, and his old age green ; 
Life's morn was vigorous, and her eve serene ; 
No rules he held, but what were made for use ; 
No arts he learn d, nor ills which arts produce; 
False lights he follow' d, but believ'd them true ; 
He knew not much, but liv'd to Avhat he knew. 

" Happy, thrice happy novj the Savage race, 
Since Europe took their gold, and gave them grace ! 
Pastors she sends to help them in their need. 
Some who can't write, with others who can't read, 
And, on sure grounds the Gospel pile to rear, 
Sends missionary felons every year ; 
Our vices, with more zeal than holy prayers, 
She teaches them, and in return takes theirs ; 
Her rank oppressions gives them cause to rise, 
Her want of prudence, means and arms supplies, 
Whilst her brave rage, not satisfied with life, 
Kising in blood, adopts the scalping-knife ; 
Knowledge she gives, enough to make them know 
How abject is their state, how deep their woe ; 
The worth of Freedom strongly she ex])lains, 
Whilst she bows down, and loads their necks with chains." 

The next we may characterise as Churchill's Five Ages, 
and the whole passage, but especially the close, we cannot 
hut regard as one of the master-pieces in this class of 
English poetry. The wit, the sense, the thought, the grace 
and strength of the verse, are incomparable. 


** Infancy, straining backward from the breast. 
Tetchy and wayward, what he loveth best 
Refusing in his fits, whilst all the while 
The mother eyes the wrangler with a smile. 
And the fond father sits on t'other side. 
Laughs at his moods, and views his spleen with pride, 
Shall murmur forth my name, whilst at his hand 
Nurse stands interpreter, through Gotham's land. 

" Childhood, who like an April mom appears. 
Sunshine and rain, hopes clouded o'er with fears, 
rieas'd and displeas'd by starts, in passion warm, 
In reason weak, who, wrought into a storm, 

312 THE FIVE AGES. [Charks 

Like to the fretful bullies of the deep, 

Soon spends his rage, and cries himself asleep, 

"WTio, with a feverish appetite oppress' d, 

For trifles sighs, but hates them when possess'd, 

His trembling lash suspended in the air, 

Half bent, and stroking back his long, lank hair, 

Shall to his mates look up with eager glee, 

And let his top go down to prate of me. 

'* Youth, who fierce, fickle, insolent and vain. 
Impatient urges on to manhood's reign. 
Impatient urges on, yet with a cast 
Of dear regard, looks back on childhood past. 
In the mid-chase, when the hot blood runs high, 
And the quick spirits mount into his eye, 
When pleasure, which he deems his greatest wealth, 
Beats in his heart, and paints his cheeks with health, 
"When the chaf'd steed tugs proudly at the rein. 
And, ere he starts, hath run o'er half the plain, 
When, wing'd with fear, the stag flies full in view, 
And in full cry the eager hounds pursue. 
Shall shout my praise to hills which shout again. 
And e'en the huntsman stop to cry Amen. 

" Manhood, of form erect, who would not bow 
Though worlds should crack around him ; on his brow 
Wisdom serene, to passion giving law, 
Bespeaking love, and yet commanding awe ; 
Dignity into grace by mildness wrought ; 
Courage attemper' d and refined by thought, 
Virtue supreme enthroned ; within his breast 
The image of his Maker deep impress'd; 
Lord of this earth, which trembles at his nod, 
With reason bless' d, and only less than God ; 
Manhood, though weeping Beauty kneels for aid, 
Though honour calls in danger's form array'd. 
Though, clothed with sackcloth. Justice in the gates, 
By wicked Elders chain' d, redemption waits ; 
Manhood shall steal an hour, a little hour, 
(Is't not a little one ?) to hail my power. 

* * Old Age, a second child, by nature curst 
With more and greater evils than the first, 
Weak, sickly, full of pains ; in every breath 
RaiUng at life, and yet afraid of death ; 
Putting things off", with sage and solemn air, 
From day to day, without one day to spare ; 
Without enjoyment, covetous of pelf. 
Tiresome to friends, and tiresome to himself, 
His faculties impair'd, his temper sour'd, 
His memory of recent things devour'd 
E'en with the acting, on his shatter'd brain 
Though the false registers of youth remain ; 
From morn to evening babbling forth vain praise 
Of those rare men, who lived in those rare days 
When he, the hero of his tale, was young, 
Dull repetitions faltering on his tongue ; 

Churchill.'] paraphrase of isatah. 3 IB 

Praising grey hairs, sure mark of "Wisdom's sway, 
E'en whilst he curses time which made him grey, 
Scoffing at youth, e'en whilst he would afford 
All, but his gold, to have his youth restored ; 
Shall for a moment, from himself set free. 
Lean on his crutch, and pipe forth praise to me." 

And observe the exquisite beauty of the lines which 
follow, where the poet touchingly paraphrases what he had 
doubtless often read out of his Bible to his congregations.' 
Let the reader mark above all the charming effect of the 
repetition, which might seem in after days to have 
lingered in the ear of that great poet who was soon to 
spring from the ranks of the peasantry of Scotland, and 
whose genius and independence, if Churchill could have 
lived to know them, would with him have far outweighed 
a wilderness of Butes and Wedderburnes. 

** Can the fond Mother from herself depart ? 
Can she forget the darling of her heart, 
The little darling whom she bore and bred. 
Nursed on her knees, and at her bosom fed ? 
To whom she seem'd her every thought to give, 
And in whose life alone, she seem'd to live ? 
Yes, from herself the Mother may depart, 
She may forget the darling of her heart, 
The little darling, whom she bore and bred, 
Nursed on her knees, and at her bosom fed. 
To whom she seem'd her every thought to give, 
And in whose life alone she seem'd to live ; 
But I can not forget, whilst life remains. 
And pours her current through these swelling veins, 
"Whilst memory offers up at reason's shrine, 
But I can not forget that Gotham's mine." 

The close of the year 1763 witnessed one or two notable 
events, not needful to be other than slightly dwelt upon 
here, since history has attended to them all. On the 
motion of Mr. Grenville (whose jealousy of Pitt had 
broken the Temple phalanx) in the lower House, the 
North Briton was ordered to the hangman's hands to be 
burnt ; and on the motion of Lord Sandwich in the 
upper, Wilkes was committed to the hands of the 
Attorney-general for prosecution, as the alleged writer 

^ ** Can a woman forget her suck- "womb? Yea, they may forget, 
** ing child, that she should not " yet will I not forget thee." Isaiah 
** have compassion on the son of her xlix. 15. 

314 THE ESSAY ON WOMAN. \_Charies 

of a privately printed immoral parody of Pope^s Essay on 
Man. Some whispers of this latter intention had been 
carried to Churchill before the session opened, during 
Wilkes's temporary absence at Paris ; but, according to 
the affidavit of one of the printers concerned, the poet 
scorned the possibility of public harm to his friend from 
a private libel, which he did not believe him to have 
written, and of which not a copy that had not been 
stolen (a man named Kidgell, whom Walpole calls a 
dirty dog of a parson, was the thief and government- 
informer) was in circulation. He therefore roughly told 
the printer who brought him his suspicions, that " for 
" anything the people in power could do, they might be 
" damned." But he had greatly underrated, if not the 
power of these people in the ordinary sense, at least their 
power of face. 

Lord Sandwich rose in his place in the House of Lords, 
the Essay on Woman in his hand, with all the indignant 
gravity of a counsel for the morality of the entire kingdom. 
" It was blasphemous ! '' exclaimed the first Lord of the 
Admiralty. And who should know blasphemy better 
than a blasphemer ? The first Lord had been expelled 
the Beef-steak Club, not many years before, for the very 
sin he now charged on "Wilkes. But he knew his audi- 
ence, and went steadily on. He read the Essay on Woman, 
until the decorous Lord Lyttelton begged that the reading 
might be stopped : he dwelt upon a particular note, which, 
by way of completing the burlesque, bore the name of 
Pope's last editor, until Warburton rose from the bench of 
Bishops, begged pardon of the devil for comparing him 
with Wilkes, and said the blackest fiends in hell would not 
keep company with the demagogue when he should arrive 
there. Nothing less than the expulsion of the man from 
Parliament (he was already expelled from the Colonelcy of 
the Bucks militia, and Lord Temple from the Bucks lord- 
lieutenancy for supporting him) could satisfy this case. 

Expulsion was a happy expedient for controlling the 
elective franchise, which the popular Walpole had him- 
self resorted to ; but in such wise that the popular 
franchise seemed all the more safely guaranteed by it. 
Now the people saw it revived and enforced, for purposes 
avowedly and grossly unpopular. They were asked, by 

Churchill.^ prosecution of wilkes. 315 

men whose whole lives had shamelessly proclaimed the too 
prevalent divorce between politics and morals, to sanction 
the principle that a politician should be made accountable 
for immorality ; and Morality herself, howsoever regret- 
ting it, might hardly blame them for the answer they 
gave. They resisted. They stood by Wilkes more de- 
terminedly than ever, and excitement was raised to a 
frightful pitch. A friend of Sandwich's, who, the day 
after his motion against the Essay, cried out exultingly 
that " nobody but he could have struck a stroke like 
" this," was obliged to confess, only eight days later, that 
the " blasphemous book had fallen ten times heavier on 
" Sandwich's head than on Wilkes's, and had brought 
" forward such a catalogue of anecdotes as was incredible." 
Nay, so great was the height things went to, that even 
Norton's impudence forsook him ; and Warburton, who 
had expunged Pitt's name for Sandwich's in the dedica- 
tion to his forthcoming Sermons^ thought it best to rein- 
state Pitt very suddenly. 

Nevertheless, the result of the ministerial prosecution 
drove Wilkes to France. There was a design that 
Churchill, after publication of the poem which arose out 
of these transactions, and which Horace Walpole thought 
'' the finest and bitterest of his works " (the Duellist), 
should have followed his friend ; inquiries being mean- 
while set on foot as to whether the French government 
would protect them in efforts to assail their own. The 
answer was favourable, but the scheme was not pursued. 
On excellent grounds it has been surmised that ChurchiU's 
English feehng revolted at it ; and he was essential to 
its success. For, his reputation even now, limited as his 
themes had been, was not limited to England. " I don't 
" know," wrote Horace Walpole to Sir H. Mann, in one 
of his lately published letters, " whether this man's fame 
" has extended to Florence ; but you may judge of the 
" noise he makes in this part of the world by the following 
" trait, which is a pretty instance of that good-breeding 
" on which the French pique themselves. My sister and 
" Mr. Churchill are in France. A Frenchman asked him 
" if he was Churchill le fameux poete ? — Non. — Ma foiy 
" Monsieu7\ tant pis pour vous ! " To think that it should 
be so much the worse for the son of a General, and the 

316 NOT so BAD AS HE SEEMED. [Charks 

husband of a Lady Maria, daughter to an Earl, not to 
be a low-bred scribbler ! Nevertheless, to this day, the 
world takes note of only one Charles Churchill. Whether 
so much the worse, or so much the better, for the other, 
it is not for us to decide. 

The poet, then, stayed in England ; and worked at his 
self-allotted tasks with greater determination than ever. 
Satire has the repute of bringing forth the energies of 
those who, on other occasions, have displayed but few and 
feeble ; and many a man from whom nothing vigorous 
was looked for, has lost his cramps and stiffnesses among 
the bubbles of these hot springs. We need not wonder, 
therefore, that Churchill, though with his Beef-steak and 
other clubs to attend to, his North Briton to manage, and, 
not seldom, sharp strokes of illness to struggle with, should 
never have sent forth so many or such masterly works as 
in the last nine months of his rapid and brilliant career. 

He was also able to do so much, because he was 
thorough master of what he had to do. He understood 
his own powers too completely to lay any false strain upon 
them. The ease with which he composed is often men- 
tioned by him, though with a difference. To his Friend 
he said that nothing came out till he began to be pleased 
with it himself, while to the Public he boasted of the 
haste and carelessness with which he sat down and dis- 
charged his rapid thoughts. Something between the two 
would probably come nearest the truth. No writer is at 
all times free from what Ben Jonson calls, "pinching 
" throes;" and Churchill frequently confesses them. It 
may have been, indeed, out of a bitter sense of their 
intensity that he used the energetic phrase, afterwards 
remembered by his publisher, that "blotting was like 
" cutting away one's own flesh.'* But though this, and 
other marks of the genus irritahile, undoubtedly declared 
themselves in him, he did not particularly affect the life 
of a man of letters, and, for the most part, avoided that 
kind of society; for which Dr. Johnson pronounced him 
a blockhead. Boswell remonstrated. " Well, sir," said 
Johnson, " I will acknowledge that I have abetter opinion 
" of him than I once had; for he has shown more fertility 
** than I expected. To be sure, he is a tree that cannot 
" produce good fruit ; he only bears crabs. But, sir, a 

Chur chill, '\ country house and sports. 317 

" tree that produces a great many crabs is better than a 
** tree which produces only a few/' 

Such as it was — and it can afford that passing touch 
of blight — the tree was now planted on Acton-common. 
After the departuie of Wilkes, he had moved from his 
Eichmond residence into a house there, described by 
the first of his 'biographers, two months after his death, 
to have been furnished with extreme elegance ; and 
where he is said, by the same worthy scribe, to have 
" kept his post-chaise, saddle-horses, and pointers ; " and 
to have " fished, fowled, hunted, coursed, and Hved in an 
"independent, easy manner." He did not however so 
live, as to be unable carefully to lay aside an honourable 
provision for all who were dependent on him. This, it is 
justly remarked by Southey, was his meritorious motive 
for that greediness of gain with which he was reproached ; 
— as if it were any reproach to a successful author, that 
he doled out his writings in the way most advantageous 
to himself, and fixed upon them as high a price as his 
admirers were willing to pay. Cowper has made allusion 
to some of these points, in his fine delineation of his old 
friend and school-fellow, in the Table- Talk.^ 

^ "Contemporaries all surpass' d, Spendthrift alike ot money and of 

see one, wit, 

Short his career, indeed, but ably Always at speed, and never drawing 

run. bit, 

Churchill, himself unconscious of his He struck the lyre in such a careless 

powers, mood. 

In penury consumed his idle hours, And so disdain'd the rules he under- 

And like a scatter'd seed at random stood, 

sown, The laurel seem'd to wait on his 

Was left to spring by vigour of his command, 

own. He snatch' d it rudely from the 

Lifted at length, by dignity of Muse's hand." 


Anddintof genius, to an affluent lot, I subjoin also, from Cowper's 

He laid his head in luxury's soft lap, delightful correspondence, what he 

And took too often there his easy wrote to Mr. Unwin in 1786, on 

nap. the appearance of a new edition of 

If brighter beams than all he threw the English Poets. * ' It is a great 

not forth, "thing to be indeed a poet, and 

'Twas negligence in him, not want " does not happen to more than one 

of worth. " man in a century. Churchill, the 

Surly and slovenly and bold and * ' great Churchill, deserved the 

coarse, " name of poet ; I have read him 

Too proud for art, and trusting in " twice, and some of his pieces three 

i mere force ; "times over, and the last time 
I . 

318 cowper's praise of his schoolfellow. [Charles 

Tlie Author J published almost contemporaneously with 
the Duellist, had the rare good fortune to please even his 
critics. Horace Walpole could now admit, that even 
when the satirist was not assailing a Holland or a War- 
burton, the world were "transported" with his works, 

** with more pleasure than the 
*' first. The pitiful scribbler of 
*' his life seems to have unJer- 
*' taken that task, for which he 
*' was entirely unqualified, merely 
*' because it afforded him an op- 
* ' portunity to traduce him. He 
** has inserted in it but one anecdote 
** of consequence, for which he re- 
** fers you to a novel, and intro- 
*' duces the story with doubts about 
** the truth of it. But his barren- 
* ' ness as a biographer I could forgive, 
** if the simpleton had not thought 
" himself a judge of his writings, 
** and under the erroneous influence 
** of that thought, informed his 
*' reader that Gotham, Independ- 
*' ence, and the Times, were catch- 
*' pennies. GolTiam, unless I am a 
** greater blockhead than he, which 
*' I am far from believing, is a noble 
*' and beautiful poem, and a poem 
*' with which I make no doubt the 
*' author took as much pains as 
*' with any he ever wrote. Making 
*' allowance (and Dryden, in his 
** Absalom and Achitophel, stands 
** in need of the same indulgence) 
*' for an unwarrantable use of Scrip- 
*' ture, it appears to me to be a 
*' masterly performance. Independ- 
*' ence is a most animated piece, 
*' full of strength and spirit, and 
*' marked with that bold mas- 
** culine character which, I think, is 
** the great peculiarity of this writer, 
** And the Times (except that the 
*' subject is disgusting to the last 
** degree) stands equally high in 
** my opinion. He is indeed a 
** careless writer for the most pai-t ; 
*' but where shall we find, in any of 
*' those authors who finish their 
** works with the exactness of a 
" Flemish pencil, those bold and 
'* daring strokes of fancy, those 

" numbers so hazardously ventured 
** upon and so happily finished, the 
'* matter so compressed and yet 
" so clear, and the colouring so 
* ' sparingly laid on and yet with 
** such a beautiful efiect ? In short, 
"it is not his least praise that he 
** is never guilty of those faults as 
** a writer, which he lays to the 
" charge of others. A proof that 
*' he did not judge by a borrowed 
*' standard, or from rules laid 
" down by critics, but that he was 
*' qualified to do it by his own na- 
*' tive powers, and his great supe- 
*' riority of genius. For he that 
" wrote so much and so fast, would, 
" through inadvertency and hurry, 
*' unavoidably have departed from 
** rules which he might have found 
*' in books ; but his own truly 
*' practical talent was a guide 
" which could not suffer him to err. 
** A race-horse is graceful in his 
** swiftest pace, and never makes 
" an awkward motion though he is 
" pushed to his utmost speed. A 
" cart-horse might perhaps be 
" taught to play tricks in the 
•* riding- school, and might prance 
*' and curvet like his betters, but 
" at some unlucky time would be 

* * sure to betray the baseness of his 
** original. It is an affair of very 
" little consequence perhaps to the 
** well-being of mankind, but I can- 
" not help regretting that he died 
** so soon. Those words of Virgil, 
*' upon the immature death of 
** Marcellus, might serve for his 
" epitaph : 

* Ostendentterrishimc tantumfata, 

neque ultra 
Esse siuent.' " 

Sovihey's Cowpcr, vol. vi. p. 9 — 11. 

Chur chill. 1 poem on a patriot king. 319 

and his numbers were indeed "like Dryden's." The 
Monthly Reviewers sent forth a frank eulogium, while 
even the Critical found it best to forget their ancient 
grudge. And in the admirable qualities not without 
reason assigned to it, the Author seems to us to have 
been much surpassed by his next performance, Gotham. 

When Cowper fondly talked, as it was his pleasure 
and his pride to do, of *' Churchill, the great Churchill, 
" for he well deserved the name," it was proof of his taste 
that he dwelt with delight on this " noble and beautiful " 
poem. Its object was not clearly comprehended at 
the first, but, as it proceeded, became evident. It was 
an Idea of a Patriot King, in verse ; and in verse of 
which, with all its carelessness, we hold with Cowper 
that few exactor writers of his class have equalled, for 
its " bold and daring strokes of fancy ; its numbers so 
" hazardously ventured upon, and so happily finished; its 
'* matter so compressed, and yet so clear; its colouring so 
" sparingly laid on, and yet with such a beautiful effect." 
Largely would we have added, if possible, to the quotations 
already given from this poem, and it is with much regret 
we necessarily restrict ourselves to but one passage more. 
It is a piece of descriptive poetry of a very high class. 
The reader's national pride, if he be a Scotchman, will 
not intercept his admiration of the wit of the verse which 
precedes the fine picture of the cedar; and he will 
admire through all the lines, but especially at their close, 
the excellent and subtle art with which the verse seconds 
the sense. 

Forming a gloom, throiigh which to spleen-struck minds 

Religion, horror-stamp'd, a passage finds, 

The Ivy, crawling o'er the hallow' d cell, 

"Where some old hermit's wont his beads to tell 

By day, by night ; the Myrtle ever green, 

Beneath whose shacje love holds his rites unseen ; 

The Willow, weeping o'er the fatal wave 

"Where many a lover finds a watery grave ; 

The Cypress sacred held, when lovers mourn 

Their true love snatch'd away ; the Laurel worn 

By poets in old time, but destin'd now. 

In grief to wither on a "Whitehead's brow ; 

The Fig, which, large as what in India grows, 

Itself a grove, gave our first parents cloaths ; 

The Vine, which, like a blushing new-made bride, 

Clustering, empurples all the mountain's side ; 


The Yew, which, in the place of sculptur'd stone, 

Marks out the resting-place of men unknown ; 

The hedge-row Elin ; the Pine of mountain race ; 

The Fir, the Scotch Fir, never out of place ; 

The Cedar, whose top mates the highest cloud, 

Whilst his old father Lebanon grows proud 

Of such a child, and his vast body laid 

Out many a mile, enjoys the filial shade ; 

The Oak, when living, monarch of the wood ; 

The English Oak, which, dead, commands the flood ; 

All, one and all, shall in this Chorus join. 

And, dumb to others' praise, be loud in mine .... 

The Showers, which make the young hills, like young lambs, 

Bound and rebound, the old hills, like old rams, 

Unwieldy, jump for joy ; the Streams, which glide, 

Whilst Plenty marches smiling by their side. 

And from their bosom rising Commerce springs ; 

The Winds which rise with healing on their wings. 

Before whose cleansing breath contagion flies ; 

The Sun, who, travelling in eastern skies. 

Fresh, full of strength, just risen from his bed. 

Though in Jove's pastures they were born and bred. 

With voice and whip can scarce make his steeds stir, 

Step by step up the perpendicular ; 

Who, at the hour of eve, panting for rest, 

EoUs on amain, and gallops down the west, 

As fast as Jehu, oil'd for Ahab's sin. 

Drove for a crown, or postboys for an inn ; 

The Moon, who holds o'er night her silver reign, 

Kegent of tides, and mistress of the brain. 

Who to her sons, those sons who own her power, 

And do her homage at the midnight hour, 

Gives madness as a blessing, but dispenses 

Wisdom to fools, and damns them with their senses ; 

The Stars, who, by I know not what strange right, 

Preside o'er mortals in their own despite, 

Who without reason govern those, who most 

(How truly judge from hence !) of reason boast, 

And, by some mighty magic yet unknown. 

Our actions guide, yet cannot guide their own ; 

All, one and all, shall in this Chorus join. 

And, dumb to others' praise, be loud in mine." 

Gotham was less successful than the more personal 
satires, and the author might have felt, as his *' great 
" high priest of all the nine " did, when he remembered 
the success of MacFlecknoe, amid the evil days on which 
the Religio Laid and the Hind and Panther had fallen. 
Nothing ever equalled a satire for a sale, said the old 
bookseller Johnson to his son Samuel — a good swinging 
satire, "or a SacheverelVs Trial!'' There was no need, 
however, that Churchill should have had tliis recalled to 

Churchill.'] character of lord sandwich. 321 

his memory, for so timely a subject came unexpectedly to 
hand, that in no case could he have resisted it. Lord 
Sandwich became a candidate for the high stewardship of 
Cambridge University. "I thank you," ^^ToteLord Bath 
to Colman, "for the Candidate, which is, in my opinion, 
" the severest and the best of all Churchill's works. He 
" has a great genius, and is an excellent poet." Not- 
withstanding wliich praise, from a somewhat questionable 
critic, we shall not hesitate to aver that the Candidate 
really is an excellent poem, with lines as fine in it as any 
from ChurchilFs hand. Such are those, wherein the 
miseries of evil counsel to royalty are dwelt upon ; and 
Kings are described as " made to draw their breath, In 
'' darkness thicker than the shades of Death." But we 
must present, in detail, at least a part of the portrait of 
Lord Sandwich, its hero. 

" From his youth upwards to the present day, 
When vices more than years have marked him grey ; 
When riotous excess with wasteful hand 
Shakes life's frail glass, and hastes each ebbing sand, 
Unmindful from what stock he drew his buth, 
Untainted with one deed of real worth, 
Lothario, holding honour at no price, 
Folly to folly added, vice to vice, 
Wrought sin with greediness, and sought for shame 
With greater zeal than good men seek for fame. 

" Where (reason left without the least defence) 
Laughter was mirth, obscenity was sense, 
Where impudence made decency submit, 
Where noise was humour, and where whim was wit. 
Where rude, untemper'd license had the merit 
Of liberty, and lunacy was spirit. 
Where the best things were ever held the worst, 
Lothario was, with justice, always first. 

" To whip a top, to knuckle down at taw. 
To swing upon a gate, to ride a straw. 
To play at push-pin with dull brother peers, 
To belch out catches in a porter's ears, 
To reign the monarch of a midnight cell, 
To be the gaping chairman's oracle. 
Whilst, in most blessed union, rogue and whore 
Clap hands, huzza, and hiccup out. Encore, 
Whilst grey authority, who slumbers there 
In robes of watchman's fur, gives up his chair ; 
With midnight howl to bay the atfrighted moon, 
To walk with torches through the streets at noon. 
To force plain nature from her usual way. 
Each night a vigil, and a blank each day, 
To match for speed one feather 'gainst another 
To make one leg nm races Avith his brother. 


'Gainst all the rest to take the northern wind, 
Bute to ride first, and He to ride behind, 
To coin newfangled wagers, and to lay 'em, 
Laying to lose, and losing not to pay 'em ; 
Lothario, on that stock which nature gives, 
Without a rival stands, though March yet lives. ''^ 

Admirable is all this, without question, and the last is a 
fine touch ; though it might perhaps be doubted, were we 
closely to compare it with the character of Buckingham by 
Dryden, whether it might not seem as an impressive and 
startling list of materials for satire, rather than as that 
subtler extract of the very spirit of satire itself which 
arrests us in the elder poet. But it is writing of a most 
rare order. 

The Farewell, and the Times (the latter to be referred 
to only as Dryden refers to some of the nameless pro- 
ductions of Juvenal, tragical provocations tragically 
revenged), now followed in rapid succession ; and Inde- 
pendence, the last work published while he lived, appeared 
at the close of September 1764. It is a final instance of 
Mr. Tooke's misfortunes in criticism, that, though he 
admits this poem to display " vigour " in some scattered 
passages, he sets it down as " slovenly in composition, 
" hacknied in subject, and commonplace in thought." 
It is very far from this ! A noble passage at the com- 
mencement is worthy of Ben Jonson himself, and very 
much in his manner. 

*' What is a Lord ? Doth that plain simple word 
Contain some magic spell ? As soon as heai-d, 
Like an alarum bell on Night's dull ear. 
Doth it strike louder, and more strong appear 
Than other words ? Whether we will or no, 
Through reason's court doth it unquestion'd go 
E'en on the mention ? and of course transmit 
Notions of something excellent, of wit 
Pleasing, though keen ? of humour free, though chaste ? 
Of sterling genius with sound judgment graced ? 
Of virtue far above temptation's reach. 
And honour, which not malice can impeach ? 
Believe it not. 'Twas Nature's first intent, 
Before their rank became their punishment. 
They should have pass'd for men, nor blush'd to prize 
The blessings she bestow'd. She gave them eyes, 
And they could see. She gave them ears, they heard : 
The instruments of stirring, and they stirr'd. 
Like us, they were design'd to eat, to drink, 
To talk, and (every now and then) to think. 

ChurchiIL~\ a self-painted portrait. 323 

Till they, by pride corrupted, for the sake 

Of singularity, disclaim' d that make ; 

Till they, disdaining Nature's vulgar mode, 

Flew off, and struck into another road 

More fitting quality : and to our view 

Came forth a species altogether new. 

Something we had not known, and could not know, 

Like nothing of God's making here below. 

Nature exclaim'd with wonder. Lords are things, 

Which, never Tnade by Me, were made by Kings 1 " 

The same poem contains a full4ength portrait of the 
poet, with the unscrupulous but Kfelike mark of his own 
strong, coarse, unflattering hand ; in which he laughs at 
himself as an '^unlick'd" bear ; depicts himself "rolling" 
in his walk, " much like a porpoise just before a storm ; " 
plays in short the Hogarth to his own most ludicrous 
defects, and displays his ungainly foppery. 

" Broad were his shoulders, and from blade to blade, 

A H might at full length have laid ; 

Vast were his bones, his muscles twisted strong. 
His face was short, but broader than 'tAvas long. 
His features, though by nature they were large, 
Contentment had contrived to overcharge 
And bury meaning, save that we might spy 
Sense lowering on the pent-house of his eye ; 
His arms were two twin oaks, his legs so stout, 
That they might bear a mansion-house about, 
Nor were they, look but at his body there, 
Design'd by fate a much less weight to bear. 

"O'er a brown cassock, which had once been black, 
Which hung in tatters on his brawny back, 
A sight most strange, and awkward to behold, 
He threw a covering of blue and gold. 
Just at that time of life, when man, by rule 
The fop laid dowTi, takes up the graver fool, 
He started up a fop, and, fond of show, 
Look'd like another Hercules turn'd beau. 
A subject, met with only now and then. 
Much fitter for the pencil than the pen ; 
Hogarth would draw him (Envy must allow) 
E'en to the life, was Hogarth living now." 

Hogarth was " living now," but, at the moment when 
the words were written, within view of his death-bed. 
Churchill little knew how nearly he approached his own ; 
and yet, in the unfinished Journey, the last fragment 
found among his papers (for the severe and masterly 
Dedication to Warhurton, though posthumously published, 
was of earHer date), there was a strange, half conscious, 

Y 2 


glimmering sense, of the fate that now impended. The 
lamentations of his good-natured friends, that, but for 
his unhappy lust of pubHshing so fast, " he might have 
" flourished twenty years or more, Though now, alas ! 
" poor man, worn out in four y^ were here noticed in some 
of his most vigorous verses. He proposes to take their 
advice, but finds the restraint too hard. Prose will run 
into verse. " If now and then I curse, my curses chime; 
" Nor can I pray, unless I pray in rhyme." He therefore 
entreats that they will once more be charitable even to 
his excesses, and read, "no easy task, hut prohably the last 
" that I shall ask," that little poem. He calls it the plain 
unlaboured Journey of a Day ; warns ofi* all who would 
resort to him for the stronger stimulants ; exhorts the 
Muses, in some of his happiest satire, to divert themselves 
with contemporary poets in his absence ; in that way, 
bids them their appetite for laughter feed ; and closes 
with the line, 

* * I on my Journey all alone proceed ! " 

The poem was not meant to close here ; but a Greater 
Hand interposed. That Hne of mournful significance is 
the last that was written by Churchill. 

A sudden desire to see Wilkes took him hastily to 
Boulogne on the 22nd of October 1764. "Dear Jack, 
" adieu ! C. C' — was the laconic announcement of his 
departure to his brother. At Boulogne, on the 29th of 
October, a miKary fever seized him, and baffled the 
physicians who were called in. The friends who sur- 
rounded his bed gave way to extreme distress : it was a 
moment when probably even Wilkes felt : but Churchill 
preserved his composure. He was described, afterwards, 
checking their agitated grief, in the Hues with which he 
had calmly looked forward to this eventful time. 

" Let no unworthy sounds of grief be heard, 
No wild laments, not one unseemly word ; 
Let sober triumphs wait upon my bier, 
I won't forgive that friend who sheds one tear. 
"Whether he 's ravish'd in life's early mom, 
Or, in old age, drops like an ear of corn. 
Full ripe he falls, on nature's noblest plan, 
"Who lives to reason, and who dies a man. " 

Churchill.'] death. 325 

He sat up in his bed, and dictated a brief, just will. 
He left his wife an annuity of 60/, and an annuity of 50/ 
to the woman he had seduced. He provided for his two 
boys. He left mourniag rings to Lord and Lady Temple, 
and to Wilkes, Lloyd, Cotes, Walsh, and the Duke of 
Grafton ; and he desired his " dear friend, John Wilkes, 
" to collect and pubKsh his works, with the remarks and 
" explanations he has prepared, and any others he thinks 
" proper to make." He then expressed a wish to be 
removed, that he might die in England ; and the impru- 
dent measures of his friends, in compliance with this wish, 
hastened the crisis. On the 4th of November 1764, at 
Boulogne, and in the thirty-third year of his age, Charles 
Churchill breathed his last. 

Warburton said he had perished of a drunken debauch — 
a statement wholly untrue. Actor Davies said that his last 
expression was " What a fool I have been ! " — a statement 
contradicted by the tenor of his will, and specially denied 
by Wnkes. Garrick, who was in Paris at the time, wrote 
to Colman when their common friend had been six days 
dead : *' Churchill, I hear, is at the point of death at 
*' Boulogne. I am sorry, very sorry for him. Such 
" talents, with prudence, had commanded the nation. I 
" have seen some extracts I don't admire." ' What is not 

^ Two days after this date he *' have likewise sent the key of the 

wrote to his brother George, also *' table in the study window, where 

from Paris, a letter which has not *' I believe is the key of the iron 

yet been published, and which one ** box. I thought it might be ne- 

must sorrowfully confess bears out *' eessary to send you that, to look 

Foote's favourite jokes about his *' for Hubert's bond, and a note of 

remarkably strong box, and his very ' ' hand of Churchill, who you know 

keen regard for its contents. When '* is dead. Mr. Wilkes tells me 

he wrote to Colman, he only knew that ** there is money enough for all his 

Churchill was dangerously ill; of the "debts, and money besides for his 

death he could not have heard till the *' wife, Miss Carr whom he lived 

day before, or the very day on which "with, &c. &c. You'll do with 

he wrote this letter, now to be pub- " both what is proper, but put in 

lished ; yet the reader will perceive " your claim. Colman will tell you 

that it is certainly not the emotion *' where the money is. Churchill, 

of grief which he thinks primarily " you'll see, paid me 40^ (I think) 

due to the memory of his friend: '* of the note — which is either in 

'* My dear George," he writes, "I " the iron chest with the rest, or 

*' have just time to send you this " in the table itself in the study. 

" scrap of a note by my friend Mr. ** Make use of the Florence wine, 

"Burnett, a most sensible man, ** or what else belongs to your ever 

"and a great Scotch lawyer. I " affectionate brother, D. Garrick.' 


to be admired in a satirist, is generally discovered just 
before or just after bis death ; what is admired runs equal 
danger of unseasonable worship. There was a sale of his 
books and furniture, at which the most extravagant prices 
were given for articles of no value. A common steel-pen 
brought five pounds, and a pair of plated spurs sixteen 
guineas. The better to supply, too, the demands of 
pubHc curiosity, vulgar letters were forged in his name ; 
one of which was a few years since reproduced for his, in 
the Colman Correspondence. A death-bed scene by the 
same busy scribe (in which the dying man was made to 
rave of his poor bleeding country, and of her true friend 
Mr. Pitt, and of Scotchmen preying upon her vitals, and 
of dying the death of the righteous), was also served up 
to edify the public, and satisfy their inquiring interest. 
. " Churchill the poet is dead," wrote Walpole to Mann on 
the 15th of November. " The meteor blazed scarce four 
*' years. He is dead, to the great joy of the Ministry and 
" the Scotch, and to the grief of very few indeed, I be- 
" Heve ; for such a friend is not only a dangerous but a 
*' tickHsh possession." 

There were friends who had not found him so. Lloyd 
was sitting down to dinner when the intelligence was 
brought to him. He was seized with a sudden sickness, 
and thrust away his plate untouched. '* I shall follow 
" poor Charles," was all he said, as he went to the bed 
from which he never rose again. Churchill's favorite 
sister, Patty, said to have had no small share of his spirit, 
sense, and genius, and who was at this time betrothed to 
Lloyd, sank next under the double blow, and, in a few 
short weeks, joined her brother and her lover. The poet 
had asked that none should mourn for him, and here were 
two broken hearts ofiered up at his grave. Other silent 
and bitter sorrows were also there. 

Wilkes professed unassuageable ^rief, and sacred in- 
tentions to fulfil the duty assigned him in the will. " I 

The subject is again adverted to in " of poor Hubert and Churcbill. 

another letter to his brother of eight "Upon recollection, I think, and 

days later date, still from Paris : "am almost sure, that Churchill 

*' I hope," he says, " you have re- " gave me his bond. I asked him 

♦* ceived my key, and done what is " for nothing — he was in distress, 

*' proper with regard to the two debts " and I assisted him." 

Churchill.'] lamentations of wilkes. 327 

" will do it to tlie test of my poor abilities. My 
*' life shall be dedicated to it. I am better," lie ex- 
claimed, a fortnight after the death, " but cannot get any 
" continued sleep. The idea of Churchill is ever before 
" my eyes." " Still I do not sleep," he wrote some 
weeks later ; *' Churchill is still before my eyes." Other 
expressions of his various letters run after the same fond 
fashion. " I believe I shall never get quite over the late 
" cruel blow." " Many a sigh and tear escape me for 
" the death of dear Churchill." " You see how much I 
" have at heart to show the world how I loved Churchill." 
" I am adequate to every affliction but the death of 
'' Churchill." " The loss of Churchill I shaU always 
" reckon the most cruel of all afflictions I have suffered." 
" I will soon convince mankind that I know how to value 
" such superior genius and merit." '' I have half finished 
" the projected edition of dear Churchill." " How 
" pleased is the dear shade of our friend with all I have 
" done ! " In truth the dear shade could hardly be dis- 
pleased, for all he had done was 7iil. He wrote a few 
paltry notes ; and they came to nothing. But, a year 
after the sad scene at Boulogne, the Abbe Winckelman 
gave him an antique sepulchral urn of alabaster, and he 
placed on it a Latin inscription to his friend's memory ; 
which he found himself sufficiently pleased mth, to 
transfer afterwards to a Doric column in the grounds 
of his Isle of Wight cottage, erected of materials as 
fragile and as perishable as his patriotism. " Carolo 
*' Churchill, amico jucundo, poetse acri, civi optime de 
" patria merito, P. Johannes Wilkes, 1765." Horace 
has used the word acer in speaking of himself. 
Wilkes imperfectly understood its precise signification, 
or did not rightly understand the genius of his 

Meanwhile, in accordance with his own request, the 
body of Churchill had been brought over from France, 
and buried in the old churchyard which once belonged to 
the collegiate church of St. Martin at Dover. There is 
now a tablet to his memory in the church, and, over the 
place of burial, a stone inscribed with his name and age, 
the date of his death, and a line taken from that most 
manly and unaffected passage of his poetry, in which, 


without sorrow or complaining, lie anticipates this humble 

'* Let all (nor shall resentment flush my cheek) 
Who know me well, what they know, freely speak, 
So those (the greatest curse I meet beloAv) 
Who know me not, may not pretend to know. 
Let none of those, whom, bless'd with parts above 
My feeble genius, still I dare to love, 
Doing more mischief than a thousand foes, 
Posthumous nonsense to the world expose, 
And c all it mine, for mine though never known, 
Or which, if mine, I living blush'd to own. 
Know all the w^orld, no greedy heir shall find. 
Die when I will, one couplet left behind. 
Let none of those, whom I despise though great, 
Pretending friendship to give malice weight. 
Publish my Life. Let no false sneaking Peer 
(Some such there are) to win the public ear. 
Hand me to shame with some vile anecdote. 
Nor soul-galFd Bishop damn me with a note. 
Let one poor sprig of Bay around my head 
Bloom whilst I live, and point me out when dead ; 
Let It (may Heaven, indulgent, grant that prayer !) 
Be planted on my grave, nor wither there ; 
And when, on travel bound, some rhyming guest 
Eoams through the churchyard whilst his dinner 's drest, 
Let It hold up this comment to his eyes 
Life to the last enjoy' d. Here Churchill lies ; 
Whilst (0, what joy that pleasing flattery gives !) 
Heading my Works, he cries. Here Churchill lives." 

On " travel bound/* a " rhjining guest " stood at the 
grave in the Dover churchyard, fifty years after this pa- 
thetic aspiration. He also had lived in defiance of the 
world's opinions, had written the most masterly satires, 
and had achieved a popularity unattained by any English 
poet since the grave at which he stood received its inha- 
bitant; Hke him, too, he was then leaving his native 
country in early manhood, to be brought back dead ; and 
the moral to which he shaped his thoughts was on " the 
*' Glory and the Nothing of a Name.'' But a name is 
not an illusion, when it has been won by any strenuous 
exertion either of thought or action in an honest pur- 
pose. Time's purgatorial fire may weaken the strength 
of the characters it is written in, but it eats out of them 
also their mistakes and vices; and Byron might have 
had greater hope for the living, and less pity for the dead, 
at the grave of Charles Churchill. 



Les Excentriques et les Humoristes Anglais au Dixhuitiime SQcle. Par 
M. Philae^te Chasles. Paris. 1848. 

The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century. ByW. M.Thackeray. 
London. 1853. 

Satire and Satirists. By James Han nay. London. 1854. 

Few things are in their nature so fleeting as a joker's 
reputation. Within a generation it lives and dies. The 
jest may survive, but the jester is forgotten, and it is wit 
that flies unclaimed of any man ; or, more frequently, 
jest and jester both have passed away, and darkness has 
swallowed up the fireworks altogether. And this perhaps 
is better than to outlive liking, even in so trumpery a 
matter as a broad-grin. Horace Walpole has told us how 
much Lord Leicester sufl'ered who had such a run in 
George I's reign, when, ha^ang retired for a few years, he 
returned to io\Yn with a new generation, recommenced 
his old routine, and was taken for a driveller ; Swift had 
to remind Lord Chesterfield that Bussy Rabutin himself, 
when he was recalled to court after his long banishment, 
appeared ridiculous there ; and one would not choose to 
have been that universally popular wit of the reign of 
Charles I, who, according to Sir William Temple, was 
found to be an intolerable bore at the court of Charles II. 

But it is not simply that this kind of reputation has 
small value or duration in itself, but that it lowers any 
higher claim in its possessor. Laughter runs a losing 

^ From the Quarterly Review, September, 1854. With additions. 

830 wit's disadvantages. [Samuel 

race against the decencies and decorums ; and even Swift, 
when he would have taken his proper place on the top- 
most round of the ladder, was tripped up by the Tale of 
a Tub. So much the weaker his chances, whose laughter 
has dealt with what partakes itself of the transitory ; who 
has turned it against the accidents and follies of life ; 
w^ho has connected it with the obtrusive peculiarities of 
character, as much as with its substance and realities ; 
and who must therefore look to be himself not always 
fairly associated with the trivialities he has singled out 
for scorn. In life, and in books, it is the same. It is 
wonderful how seldom men of great social repute have 
been permitted to enjoy any other ; and there is written 
wisdom of old date to this day unappreciated, because of 
the laughing and light exterior it presents to us. In an 
age which may not unjustly be characterised as one of 
little wit and perpetual joking, this is a fault which has 
not much chance of remedy. 

Of the three books whose title-pages are transcribed at 
the head of this essay, the reader may candidly be told 
that it is not our intention to say anything. What we 
are going to write is suggested by what we have not found 
in them. In the first, an ingenious Frenchman, and noted 
Anglo-maniac, reveals the discoveries he has made of 
eccentric Englishmen, from Swift to Charles Lamb. In 
the second, a contemporary English wit and humourist, 
himself of no small distinction, eloquently discourses of 
his illustrious predecessors from Addison to Goldsmith, 
and passes upon them some hasty and many subtle 
sentences. In the third, a most deserving writer, whose 
capacity and knowledge would be not less relished if a 
little less familiar and self-satisfied in tone, takes in hand 
the whole subject of Satire and Satirists, dismisses Q. 
Horatius Flaccus with the same easy decision as Mr. 
Punch, and is as much at home with Juvenal and Greorge 
Buchanan as with Thomas Moore and Theodore Hook. 
Yet, in these three successive volumes-full of English 
heroes of eccentricity, humour, and satire, there is One 
name altogether omitted, which might have stood as the 
type of all ; being that of an Englishman as eccentric, 
humorous, and satirical, as any this nation has bred. To 
the absent figure in the procession, therefore, we are 


about to turn aside to offer tribute. "We propose to speak 
of tbat forgotten name ; and to show its claims to have 
been remembered, even though it now be little more than 
a name. 

It was once both a terrible and a delightful reality. It 
expressed a bitterness of sarcasm and ridicule unexampled 
in England ; and a vivacity, intelligence, and gaiety, a 
ready and unfailing humour, to which a parallel could 
scarcely be found among the choicest wits of France. It 
was the name of a man so popular and diffused, that it 
would be difficult to say to what class of his countrymen 
he gave the greatest amount of amusement ; it was -the 
name of a man also more dreaded, than any since his who 
laid the princes of Europe under terror-stricken contri- 
bution, and to whom the Great Turk himself offered hush- 
money. " Mr. Foote was a man of wonderful abilities," 
says Grarrick, *' and the most entertaining companion I 
" have ever known." " There is hardly a public man in 
" England," says Davies, " who has not entered Mr. 
" Foote's theatre with an aching heart, under the appre- 
" hension of seeing himself laughed at." " Sure if ever 
" one person," says Tate Wilkinson, " possessed the 
" talents of pleasing more than another, Mr. Foote was 
" the man." " Upon my word," writes Horace Walpole, 
" if Mr. Foote be not check' d, we shall have the army 
*' itself, on its return from Boston, besieged in the Hay- 
" market." Such and so various were the emotions once 
inspired by him who has now lost command alike over 
our fears and our enjoyments ; and whose name is not 
thought even worthy of mention, by lecturers aiming to 
be popular, among the Humourists and Satirists of the 
eighteenth century. 

We have hinted at one reason for such forgetfulness, 
but that is not all. He who merely shoots a folly as it 
flies, may have no right to outlive the folly he lays low ; 
but Foote's aim was not so limited. He proposed to 
instruct, as well as to amuse, his countrymen ; he wrote 
what he believed to be comedies, as well as what he knew 
to be farces ; he laughed freely at what he thought 
ridiculous in others, but he aspired also to produce what 
should be admirable and enduring of his own. '' My 
" scenes," he said on one occasion, " have been collected 


" from general nature, and are applicable to none but 
" those who, through consciousness, are compelled to a 
" self-application. To that mark, if Comedy directs not 
" her aim, her arrows are shot in the air ; for by what 
" touches no man, no man will be amended." This plea 
has not been admitted, however. Whenever Foote is now 
named, it is as a satirist of peculiarities, not as an observer 
of character ; it is as a writer whose reputation has 
perished, with the personalities that alone gave it zest ; it 
is as a comedian who so exclusively addressed himself to 
the audience of his theatre, that posterity has been obliged 
to decline having any business or concern with him. 

Smarting from some ridicule poured out at his dinner- 
table, Boswell complained to Johnson that the host had 
made fools of his guests, and was met by a sarcasm bitter 
as Foote's own. " Why, Sir, when you go to see Foote, 
" you do not go to see a saint ; you go to see a man who 
" will be entertained at your house, and then bring you 
" on a public stage ; who will entertain you at his house, 
" for the very purpose of bringing you on a public stage. 
** Sir, he does not make fools of his company ; they whom 
" he exposes are fools already ; he only brings them into 
" action." The same opinion he expressed more gravely 
in another conversation, when, admitting Foote's humour, 
and his singular talent for exhibiting character, he qualified 
it not as a talent but a vice, such as other men abstain 
from ;^ and described it to be not comedy, which exhibits 
the character of a species, but farce, which exhibits 
individuals. Be this hasty or deliberate, false or true, the 
imputation conveyed by it follows Foote still, and gathers 
bulk as it rolls. When Sir Walter Scott speaks of him, 
it is as an unprincipled satirist, who, while he affected to 
be the terror of vice and folly, was only anxious to extort 
forbearance-money from the timid, or to fill his theatre at 
the indiscriminate expense of friends and enemies, virtuous 
or vicious, who presented foibles capable of being turned 

^ Yet even Johnson could admit to Boswell, who had named a miserly 

that there were cases where he acquaintance of theirs as a capital 

would have relaxed his own rule, subject for Foote. "I, who have 

and rejoiced to see administered, " eaten his bread, will not give him 

even upon individuals, the lash *' to him, but I should be glad he 

which Foote wielded with such effect. *' came honestly by him." 
-** Sir, I wish he had him," he said 


into ridicule. "When Mr. Macaulay speaks of Mm, it is 
as a man whose mimickry was exquisitely ludicrous, but 
all caricature ; and who could take off only some strange 
peculiarity, a stammer or a lisp, a Northumbrian burr or 
an Irish brogue, a stoop or a shuffle. If we had absolute 
faith in any of these judgments, this essay would not have 
been attempted. 

A careful examination of Foote's writings has satisfied 
us that they are not unworthy of a very high place in 
literature, though not perhaps in all respects the place he 
would have claimed; and it is worth remark, that, in 
defending them, he has himself anticipated Mr. Macaulay 's 
illustration. He declines to introduce upon the scene a 
lady from the north, mth the true Newcastle burr in her 
throat ; he recognises no subject for ridicule in the acci- 
dental unhappiness of a national brogue, for which a man 
is no more to be held accountable than for the colour of 
his hair : but he sees the true object and occasion for 
satire where all true satirists have found it, namely, in aU 
kinds of affectation or pretence ; in whatever assumes to be 
what it is not, or strives to be what it cannot become. 
That he did not uniformly remember this, is with regret 
to be admitted, seeing the effect it has had upon his re- 
putation ; but it is not in his writings that his most 
marked deviations from it are discoverable. For, it is not 
because real characters are there occasionally introduced, 
that the verdict is at once to pass against him. Vanbrugh's 
Miss Jenny, was a certain Derbyshire Miss Lowe ; 
Gibber's Lady Grace, was Lady Betty Cecil ; Farquhar's 
Justice Balance, was a well-known Mr. Beverley ; and 
MoHere, who struck the fashions and humours of his age 
into forms that are immortal, has perpetuated with them 
the vices and foibles of many a living contemporary. In 
all these cases, the question still remains whether the in- 
dividual folly or vice, obtruding itself on the public, may 
not so far represent a general defect, as to justify public 
satire for the sake of the warning it more widely conveys. 
It will not do to confine ridicule exclusively to folly and 
vice, and to refrain, in case of need, from laying its lash 
on the knave and the fool. But such reasonable oppor- 
tunities are extremely rare ; and it even more rarely 
happens that what is thus strictly personal in satire, does 


not also involve individual injustice and wrong. It is, 
beyond doubt, no small ground for distrust of its virtues, 
that the public should be always so eager to welcome it. 
No one has expressed this more happily than Foote him- 
self, when, levelling his blow at Churchill, he makes his 
publisher Mr. Puff object to a poem full of praise : 

*' Why, who the devil will give money to be told that Mr, Such-a- 
" one is a wiser or better man than himself? No, no ; 'tis quite and 
*' clean out of nature. A good sousing satire, now, well-powdered with 
" personal pepper, and seasoned with the spirit of party, that demo- 
*' lishes a conspicuous character, and sinks him below our own level 
" — there, there, we are pleased ; there we chuckle and grin, and toss 
" the half-crown on the counter." 

, Unhappily this was his own case not less ; for he, too, 
had to provide pleasure for those who went to chuckle, 
and grin, and toss their half-crowns at the pay-place of 
the Haymarket. And it was in serving up the dish for 
this purpose, rather than in first preparing it ; it was in 
the powdering and peppering for the table, rather than in 
the composition and cooking ; in a word, it was less by 
the deliberate intention of the writer than by the ready 
mimickry and humorous impromptu of the actor, that 
Foote gave mortal offence to so many of his countrymen, 
did irreparable wrong very often to the least offending, 
began himself to pay the penalty in suffering before 
he died, and is paying the penalty still in character and 

It is this which explains any difference to be noted 
between the claims put forth by himself, and the verdict 
recorded by his contemporaries. The writings we shall 
shortly introduce to the reader would little avail, in them- 
selves, to account for the mixed emotions they inspired. 
That which gave them terror, has of course long departed 
from them ; but, by reviving so much of it as description 
may tamely exhibit, and by connecting with Foote's 
personal career some idea of the overflowing abundance 
and extravagance of his humour, it is possible that their 
laughter and wit may win back some part of the apprecia- 
tion they have lost, and a fair explanation be supplied 
not only of the genius of this remarkable man, and of the 
peculiar influence he exerted while he lived, but of the 


causes wliicli have intercepted his due possession and 
ungrudged enjoyment of the 

" Estate that wits inherit after death." 

The strength and predominance of Footers humour lay 
in its readiness. Whatever the call that might be made 
upon it, there it was. Other men were humorous as the 
occasion arose to them, hut to him the occasion was never 
wanting. Others might he foiled or disabled by the lucky 
stroke of an adversary, but he took only the quicker rebound 
from what would have laid them prostrate. To put him 
out, or place him at a disadvantage, was not possible. 
He was taken one day into White's Club, by a friend 
who wanted to write a note. Standing in a room among 
strangers, and men he had no agreement with in politics, 
he appeared to feel not quite at ease : when Lord Car- 
marthen, wishing to relieve his embarrassment, went 
up to speak to him; but, himself feeling rather shy, 
merely said, " Mr. Foote, your handkerchief is hanging 
" out of your pocket." Whereupon Foote, looking round 
suspiciously, and hurriedly thrusting the handkerchief 
back into his pocket, replied, '' Thank you, my Lord, 
" thank you; you know the company better than I do." — 
At one of Macklin's absurd Lectures on the Ancients, the 
lecturer was solemnly composing himself to begin when 
a buz of laughter from where Foote stood ran through 
the room, and Macklin, thinking to throw the laugher 
off his guard, and effectually for that night disarm his 
ridicule, turned to him with this question, in his most 
severe and pompous manner. " Well, Sir, you seem to 
" be very merry there, but do you know what I am going 
" to say, now?" "No, Sir," at once replied Foote ; "^r^y, 
" do \jouV — One night at his friend Delaval's, when the 
glass had been circulating freely, one of the party would 
suddenly have fixed a quarrel upon him for his indulgence 
of personal satire. "Why, what would you have?" 
exclaimed Foote, good-humouredly putting it aside ; " of 
" course I take all my friends off, but I use them no worse 
" than myself, I take myself off." " Gadso ! " cried the 
malcontent, " that I should like to see ; " upon which 
Foote took up his hat and left the room. 


No one could so promptly overthrow an assailant ; so 
quietly rebuke an avarice or meanness ; so effectually 
" abate and dissolve " any ignorant affectation or preten- 
sion. " Why do you attack my weakest part?^' he asked 
of one who had raised a laugh against what Johnson calls 
his depecUtation ; " did I ever say anything about your 
" head?" — Dining when in Paris with Lord Stormont, 
that thrifty Scotch peer, then ambassador, as usual pro- 
duced his wine in the smallest of decanters and dispensed 
it in the smallest of glasses, enlarging all the time on its 
exquisite growth and enormous age. " It is very little of 
'* its age," said Foote, holding up his diminutive glass. — 
A pompous person who had made a large fortune as a 
builder, was holding forth on the mutability of the world. 
" Can you account for it. Sir?" said he, turning to Foote. 
" Why, not very clearly. Sir," said Foote ; " unless we 
" could suppose the world was built by contract." — A 
stately and silly country squire was regaling a large party 
with the number of fashionable folk he had visited that 
morning. "And among the rest," he said, "I called 
" upon my good friend the Karl of Chol-mon-dely, but 
" he was not at home." " That is exceedingly surpris- 
" ing," said Foote. " What ! nor none of his pe-o-ple?" 
— Being in company where Hugh Kelly was mightily 
boasting of the power he had, as a reviewer, of distribut- 
ing literary reputation to any extent, " Don't be too 
" prodigal of it," Foote quietly interposed, " or you may 
" leave none for yourself." — Conversation turning one 
day on a lady having married very happily, whose pre- 
vious life had been of extremely doubtful complexion, 
some one attributed the unexpected result to her having 
frankly told her husband, before marriage, all that had 
happened. " What candour she must have had ! " was 
the general remark upon this. " What honesty ! " 
" Yes," said Foote, " and what an amazing memory ! " 
—The then Duke of Cumberland (the foolish Duke, as he 
was called) came one night into the green-room at the 
Haymarket Theatre. " Well, Foote," said he, " here I 
" am, ready, as usual, to swallow all your good things." 
" Really," replied Foote, " your royal highness must have 
" an excellent digestion, for you never bring any up 
" again." — " Why are you for ever humming that air ? " 


lie asked a man without a sense of tune in him. " Be- 
" cause it haunts me." "No wonder," saidFoote: "you 
" are for ever murdering it." — A well beneficed old 
Cornish parson was holding forth at the dinner-table upon 
the surprising profits of his living, much to the weariness 
of everyone present, when, happening to stretch over the 
table hands remarkable for their dirt, Foote struck in 
with, " Well, Doctor, I for one am not at all surprised at 
" your profits, for I see you keep the glebe in your o^vn 
" hands." — One of Mrs. Montagu's blue-stocking ladies 
fastened upon him at one of the routs in Portman- square 
with her views of Locke on the Understanding, which she 
protested she admired above all things ; only there was 
one particular word very often repeated which she could 
not distinctly make out, and that was the word (pro- 
nouncing it very long) " ide-a ; but I suppose it comes 
" from a Greek derivation." " You are perfectly right, 
" Madam," said Foote ; "it comes from the word idea- 
" owski.'^ " And pray, Sir, what does that mean ? " 
" The feminine of idiot. Madam." — Much bored by a 
pompous physician at Bath, who confided to him as a 
great secret that he had a mind to publish his own poems, 
but had so many irons in the fire he reaUy did not well 
know what to do. " Take my advice. Doctor," says 
Foote, " and put your poems where your irons are." — 
Not less distressed on another occasion by a mercantile 
man of his acquaintance, who had also not only written 
a poem, but exacted a promise that he would listen to it, 
and who mercilessly stopped to tax him with inattention 
even before advancing beyond the first pompous Hne, 
" Hear me, Phcehus, and ye Muses nine I pray, pray be 
" attentive, Mr. Foote." " I am," said Foote ; " nine 
" and one are ten : go on ! " 

The only men of his day, putting aside Johnson's later 
fame, who had the least pretension to compare with him 
in social repute, were Quin for mt and Garrick for powers 
of conversation. But Quin was restricted to particular 
walks of humour ; and his jokes, though among the most 
masterly in the language, had undoubtedly a certain 
strong, morose, surly vein, like the characters he was so 
great in. Foote's range, on the other hand, was as uni- 
versal as society and scholarship could make it ; and 

838 QUiN, rooTE, and garrick. \_Samuel 

Davies, who was no great friend of his, says it would 
have been much more unfashionable not to have laughed 
at Foote's jokes, than even at Quin's. Garrick again, 
though notliing could be more delightful than the gaiety 
of his talk, had yet to struggle always with a certain 
restless misgiving, which made him the sport of men 
who were much his inferiors. Johnson puts the matter 

* ' Gan-ick, Sir, has some delicacy of feeling ; it is possible to put 
"him out ; you may get the better of him : but Foote is the most 
' ' incompressible fellow that I ever knew ; when you have driven him 
' ' into a corner, and think you are sure of him, he runs through 
" between your legs, or jumps over your head, and makes his escape." 

Could familiar language describe Falstaff better than 
this, which hits off the character of Foote's humour 
exactly ? It was incompressible. No matter what the 
truth of any subject might be, or however strong the 
position of any adversary, he managed to get the laugh 
on his own side. It was not merely a quickness of fancy, 
a brilliance of witty resource, a ready and expert audacity 
of invention ; but that there was a fulness and in\'inci- 
bility of courage in the man, call it moral or immoral, 
which unfailingly warded off humiliation. In another 
form, the same remark was made on another occasion by 
Johnson, when some one in his company insisted that 
Foote was a mere buffoon and merry- andrew, and the 
conscientious Samuel interposed of his less conscientious 
namesake : 

" But he has wit, too, and is not deficient in ideas, or in fertility 
" and variety of imagery, and not empty of reading ; he has know- 
pledge enough to fill up his part. One species of wit he has in an 
' ' eminent degree, that of escape. You drive him into a corner with 
"both hands; but he's gone, Sir, when you think you have got 
"him — like an animal that jumps over your head. Then he has a 
' ' great range for wit ; he never lets truth stand between him and a 
"jest, and he is sometimes mighty coarse." 

A position of greater temptation is hardly conceivable 
than that of a man gifted with such powers, and free from 
such restraints ; and the outline we now propose to give 
of his career will best show, on the one hand, to what 
extent he was able to resist the temptation, and, on the 
other, to what extent he fell. Johnson admits, while 


certainly he underrates, his scholarship ; and detects, 
though he exaggerates, his chief moral defect ; but he also 
asserts, what the testimony in contradiction of too many 
witnesses forbids us to believe, that he was not a good 
mimic. He seems on the contrary to have carried 
mimickry much higher than its ordinary strain, by com- 
bining with it a comic genius and invention peculiar to 
himself. It is seldom that a mere mimic is so extraor- 
dinarily endowed. This gave him the range of character 
as well as of manners, in the perception and appropria- 
tion of what was ludicrous ; and it put a surprising 
vitality into his satire. 

It was at the same time that dangerous facility and force 
of imitation, which, in connexion with the exuberance 
of his humour, most limited his power of resisting its 
indulgence. None better than himself knew the dis- 
advantage, in a moral sense, at which it often placed him, 
compared with duller men ; and there is affecting signifi- 
cance in his remark to young O'Keefe, *' Take care of 
" your wit," he said ; " bottle up your wit." In the 
sketch we are about to. attempt, not a few indications will 
appear that Foote, often as he subjected himself to the 
charge of cruelty and inhumanity, had certainly not a 
mahgnant disposition. But in his case we shall do well 
to remember what Halifax said of Bishop Burnet, that 
our nature scarcely allows us to be well supplied with 
anything, without our having too much of it ; and that it 
is hard for a vessel which is brimful, when in motion not to 
run over. The habit of jesting and contempt, and of 
looking always at the ludicrous and sarcastic side, got the 
mastery over Foote. It became a tyranny from which 
there was no escape ; and its practice was far more fre- 
quent, and its application more wide, than even such 
potency of humour as his could justify, or render other 
than hurtful and degrading to his own nature. 

Perhaps the most startling introduction upon record to 
a club of wits, is that for which Foote, when a youth of 
one- and- twenty, had to thank the Mr. Cooke who trans- 
lated Hesiod. " This," said Mr. Cooke, presenting his 
protege, " is the nephew of the gentleman who was lately 
" hung in chains for murdering his brother." Startling 
as the statement was, however, it was quite true ; and it 

z 2 




is probable that Mr. Cooke, who had an ingenious turn 
for living in idleness by his wits, and was reported to have 
subsisted for twenty years on a translation of Plautus 
for which he was always taking subscriptions, thought of 
nothing in making it but his young friend's luck and 
advantage, in having come to a considerable fortune by 
such windfalls as a murder and an execution. Such was 
actually the case ; and the eccentric translator was now 
helping him to spend this fortune, by making him known 
at his favourite club. 

Samuel Foote, born at Truro in 1720, came of what in 
courtesy must be called a good family, notwithstanding 
the alarming fact just mentioned. His father had some 
time sat in Parliament as member for Tiverton ; and in 
1720 was an active Cornish magistrate and influential 
country gentleman, receiver of fines for the duchy, and a 
joint commissioner of the Prize-office. His mother ^ was 

^ She survived till she was 84. 
She lived to see the triumphs of her 
son, and was spared the knowledge 
of his suffering. She died shortly 
before the affair of the Duchess of 
Kingston, when Foote, as will be 
seen hereafter, defended her memory 
with affection and spirit. When she 
was 79 years old, Cooke dined with 
her in company with her grand- 
daughter, at a barrister's in Gray's 
Inn ; and, though she had sixty steps 
to ascend to the drawing-room, she 
did it without the help of a cane, and 
with the activity of a woman of forty. 
Her talk, too, surprised every one. 
It was witty, humorous, and con- 
vivial, and made her the heroine of 
the party. She had the figure and 
face of her son, with the same con- 
tinual mirth and good humour in 
the eye. 

It may be worth adding, that, in 
the famous reply to the Duchess of 
Kingston just referred to (and which 
will be found printed at length in a 
later note), Foote gives a curious 
proof of the haste with which he 
must have read, and read only once, 
the savage assault he was answei*ing. 
The truth is that the Duchess threw 

out no imputation against his mother, 
beyond the preposterous assertion 
that she was the daughter of a merry- 
andrew who exhibited at Totness. 
The passage runs thus : * ' To a man, 
" my sex alone would have screened 
' * me from attack — but I am writing 
** to the descendant of a merry- 
" andrew and prostitute the term of 
*' manhood by appl^'ing it to Mr. 
'* Foote." To which Foote, catching 
simply the connexion without the 
sense of the words (unless we are to 
assume that he made the mistake 
deliberately for the sake of the op- 
portunity it gave him), made reply : 
*' The progenitors your Grace has 
*' done me the honour to give me, 
'* are, I presume, merely metaphysi- 
** cal persons, and to be considered 
* ' as the aijthors of my muse, and not 
** my manhood : a merry-andrew 
** and a prostitute are no bad poeti- 
'* cal parents, especially for a writer 
"of plays; the first to give the 
" humour and mirth, the last to 
" furnish the graces and power of 
"attraction . . If you mean that I 
** really owe my birth to that pleasant 
*' connection, your Grace is grossly 
* * deceived. My father was, in 


the daughter of a baronet, Sir Edward Goodere, who 
represented the county of Hereford for many years ; and 
who, by marriage with the granddaughter of the Earl of 
Rutland, had connected with his own family the not less 
ancient stock of the Dineleys, of Charlton in Wor- 
cestershire. This connexion placed young Sam in the 
collegiate school at Worcester, from which, as founder's 
kin, he was in his seventeenth year elected scholar of 
Worcester-college in Oxford. Being a quick clever lad, 
he was a favourite with the master, Dr. Miles, and already 
report had gone abroad of an astonishing faculty of 
humour in him. His schoolfellows putting him first in 
all pranks against authority, he had become supreme in 
barrings-out, artificial earthquakes, and other strokes of 
juvenile wit ; but what thus early drew more attention to 
him, was his mimickry of grown-up people, his unusual 
talent for making fun of his elders and superiors. Arthur 
Murphy, on whom Johnson so repeatedly urged the duty 
of writing some account of him that he began to collect 
materials for it, found upon inquiry a tradition remaining 
in the school that the boys often suffered on a Monday 
for preferring Sam's laughter to their lessons ; for, when- 
ever he had dined on the Sunday with any of his relatives, 
his jokes and imitations next day at the expense of the 
family entertaining him had all the fascination of a stage 

" truth, a very useful magistrate " The second, (Samuel Foote's 

"and respectable country gentle- ** father) married the only daughter 

*' man, as the whole county of Corn- "of Sir Thomas Dinely Goodier, 

** wall will tell you. My mother, " Bart. 

" &c. &c." The entire correspond- "The eldest daughter married 

ence is printed by Cooke, vol. i. p. " Harris of Hayne, in the parish of 

200-210. " Stowford, the living of which is 

I subjoin an extract of a letter from "held at present by our cousin 

Miss Mary Harness to Dr. Harness, " Samuel Harness, 
dated Truro, Sept. 19, 1797, with " The second married Nicholls of 

which I have been favoured by my * ' Trewe, father of Dr. Nicholls, 

friend the Rev. William Harness, ' * whom you may remember Profes- 

and which shows Foote's connexion " sor of Anatomy in the University 

with some ofthe old West of England " of Oxford. 

families. " Our great grandmother " The third married Willyams of 

" Foote was a Miss Stephens of " Truro. 

" Truro. She had eight children, " The fourth, Pendarvis of Pen- 

" two sons and six daughters. " darvis. 

"The eldest son married Miss " The fifth, Thomas of Tregols. 

** Gregor, great aunt to the present " The sixth, our grandfather." 

** member for Cornwall. 


play. Murphy adds his hehef that he acted Punch in 
disguise during his student career at Oxford. 

He certainly acted, without disguise, many kinds of 
extravagance there, of which the principal drift was to 
turn the laugh, when he could, against the provost of his 
college ; with of course the unavoidable result of penalties 
and impositions, which became themselves but the occa- 
sion afterwards for a new and broader laugh. Provost 
Gower was a pedant of the most uncompromising school, 
and Foote would present himself to receive his reprimand 
with great apparent gravity and submission, but with a 
large dictionary under his arm; when, on the Doctor 
beginning in his usual pompous manner with a surpris- 
ingly long word, he would immediately interrupt him, 
and, after begging pardon with great formality, would 
produce his dictionary, and pretending to iind the mean- 
ing of the word would say " Very well, sir ; now please 
" to go on." It is clear, however, that under no extent 
of laxity of discipline could this be expected to go on ; 
and accordingly we find him, in the third year of his 
under-graduateship, after an interval of gaiety at Bath, 
flaming suddenly through Oxford in society not very 
worshipful, attended by two footmen, and with a ridicu- 
lous quantity of lace about his clothes ; taken to task more 
gravely than usual for so marked an indecorum ; and 
quitting college in consequence, in 1740, " but without 
" any public censure." 

That he quitted it, in spite of all these follies, with a 
very respectable amount of scholarship, there can be no 
question ; and this he now carried up to London, enter- 
ing himself of the Temple. It had been settled that the 
law was to be. the making of his fortune, ever since a 
scene of mimickry at his father's dinner-table some four 
years before this date, long remembered and related by 
his mother, when he had taken measure of the judicial 
wit of no less than three justices of quorum in an imagi- 
nary afiiliation case. He contrasted, with great fun, the 
irascible bad EngHsh of Justice D, with the mild placidity 
of Justice A's slips of grammar, and he wound up with a 
picture of Justice F (his father) having something to say 
on both sides, like Sir Roger de Coverley, which he repro- 
duced with such infinite humour of resemblance, even to 


the accompaniment of a twirling of his father's magis- 
terial thumbs, that everybody present was in ecstacy. 
Nevertheless it did not prefigure the w^oolsack ; all that 
ensued to him from a nearer acquaintance with the law, 
being greater facilities for laughing at it. But it is 
difficult to say w^hat effect the tragedy of his uncles may 
have had on the outset of his studies. Hardly had he 
begun residence in the Temple, w^hen this frightful 
catastrophe became the talk of the town. 

A family quarrel of long standing existed between 
these tw^o brothers of Mrs. Foote (8ir John Dineley 
Goodere, and Capt. Samuel Goodere, RN), and it had 
very recently assumed a character of such bitterness, that 
the baronet, who was unmarried and somewhat eccentric 
in his ways, had cut off the entail of the family estate in 
favour of his sister's issue, to the exclusion of the Captain, 
who nevertheless had seized the occasion of an unexpected 
visit of his brother to Bristol, in the winter of 1741, some- 
what ostentatiously to seek a reconciliation with him ; 
having previously arranged that on the very night of 
their friendly meeting a pressgang, partly selected from 
his own ship, the Ruby man-of-war, and partly from tlie 
Yernon privateer, both lying at the time in the King's- 
road, should seize and hurry Sir John into a boat on the 
river, and thence secrete him in the purser's cabin of the 
Euby. The whole thing was wonderfully devised to 
assume the character of one of the outrages far from 
uncommon in seaports in those days ; but as usual the 
artifice was overdone. The Captain's publicly- acted re- 
conciliation directed suspicion against him ; even among 
the savage instruments of his dreadful deed, some sparks 
of feeling and conscience were struck out ; and one man, 
who saw through a crevice in the woodwork of the cabin 
two of the worst ruffians in the ship strangle the poor 
struggling victim, swore also, in confirmation of the evi» 
dence of others who had witnessed their commander's 
watch outside the door at the supposed time of the 
murder and his subsequent sudden disappearance inside, 
that, in about a minute after the deed was done, he saw 
an arm stretched out, aiid a ichite hand on the throat of 
the deceased. 

Captain Goodere would have defended liimself by the 


plea that lie had no part in the murder, and that his share 
in the seizure of his brother was only to withdraw him 
from improper influences until a settlement could be had 
of the question whether or not his eccentricities should ho 
held to render him incapable of disposing of his property ; 
the friends of the murderer on the other hand would have 
defended him on the plea, that the act, if he had indeed 
committed it, was not that of a person in his senses. But, 
as occasional eccentricities are no definition of perfect 
madness, so neither can any murderer be considered so 
perfectly sane as to be entitled to escape responsibility on 
proof that he may sometimes have lost self-command.' 
Captain Goodere, therefore, was duly and deservedly 
hanged ; and a portion of the family inheritance came to 
young Sam Foote ; and Mr. Hesiod Cooke took him to 
his club, as already we have faithfully recorded. 

Those were still great days for clubs and taverns. The 
Grecian, in Devereux- court, continued to retain some 
portion of the fame for Temple wit which made Steele 
propose to date from it his learned papers in the Tatler, 
and here was Foote's morning lounge ; while in the 
evening he sought the Bedford in Covent-garden, which 
had succeeded lately to the theatrical glories of Tom's 
and Will's, and where, to be one of the knot of well- 
dressed people that met there and modestly called them- 
selves the world, was of course a natural object of youthful 
aspiration. For the vicinity of the theatre was even yet 
the head- quarters of wit ; and still the ingenious apoph- 
thegm of Steele's passed current, that what the bank was 
to the credit of the nation the playhouse was to its 
politeness and good manners. Here accordingly breaks 
upon us the first clear glimpse of our hero. A well- 
known physician and theatrical critic of the day. Dr. 
Barrowby, sketches him for us. One evening, he says, 
he saw a young man extravagantly dressed out in a frock 
suit of green and silver lace, bag- wig, sword, bouquet, 
and point-ruifles, enter the room, and immediately join 

^ This detestable doctrine, which tor Johnson. "He was," says Sir 

will always have its advocates, nor John Hawkins, "a great enemy to 

ever want the sapient sanction of " the present fashionable way of 

British juiymen, was most oflFensive *' supposing worthless and infamous 

to the manly and robust sense of Doc- ** persons mad." 


the critical circle at the upper end. Nobody recognised 
him ; but such was the ease of his bearing, and the point 
and humour of remark with which he at once took part 
in the conversation, that his presence seemed to dis- 
concert no one ; and a sort of pleased buz of " Who is 
" he?^' was still going round the room unanswered, w;hen 
a handsome carriage stopped at the door, he rose and 
quitted the room, and the servants announced that his 
name was Foote, that he was a young gentleman of family 
and fortune, a student of the Inner Temple, and that the 
carriage had called for him on its way to the assembly of 
a lady of fashion. 

Any more definite notion of his pursuits within the 
next two years we fail to get, but that he underwent some 
startling vicissitudes is certain. There are traces of him 
among other than ladies of fashion ; and the scandal 
attaches to him of having driven a coach and six greys 
into Oxford, accompanied as even Oxford, though any- 
thing but strait-laced in those days, was fain to take 
mighty offence at. For some months of the time he 
appears to have rented Charlton-house, once the family 
seat in Worcestershire ; and here there is a pleasant 
story told of his having his former schoolmaster. Doctor 
Miles, to dine with him amidst his magnificence, when 
the unworldly old pedagogue, amazed at the splendour, 
innocently asked his quondam pupil how much it might 
cost, and got for answer that he did not then know how 
much it might cost, but certainly should know how much 
it would bring. And doubtless this anticipation came 
very suddenly true : for an old schoolfellow told Murphy 
that he remembered dining with him in the Fleet within 
the same year, in company with a man named Waite, 
confined there for a fraudulent debt to the bank ; when, 
Waite having supplied the turbot, venison, and claret for 
the feast, and young Foote the wit, humour, and jollity, 
never did he pass so cheerful a day. Murphy adds the 
surprising fact that his first essay as an author was 
written at about this time, and that it was " a pamphlet 
" giving an account of one of his uncles who was executed 
" for murdering his other uncle." 

We have made unavailing search for this pamphlet, any 
account of which at second hand it is manifestly dangerous 




to take. But, by those who profess to have seen it, it is 
represented to have been a quasi-defence of the justly- 
hanged captain ; a sort of " putting the best face " on the 
family discredit; though in what way this too-partial 
nephew could possibly prove that the one uncle did not 
deserve strangling publicly, without at the same time 
making it clear that the other uncle c?^(i deserve strangling 
privately, we are quite at a loss to comprehend. That he 
wrote some such pamphlet, however, seems certain, urged 
to it by hunger and the ten pounds of an Old Bailey book- 
seller; the subject continuing to occupy all the gossips 
and horror- mongers about town, the nephew being sup- 
posed to know more of the '' rights of it '* than anybody 
else, and the condition of the publication being the sup- 
pression of his name as its writer.^ Such undoubtedly was 

^ What purports to be a copy of 
this pamphlet has since been sent to 
me. It is the recent reprint of a 
common and coarsely printed six- 
penny tract, published in the locality 
of the murder, consisting of an ab- 
stract of the evidence with prefatory 
comments on its tragical incidents, 
such as one might expect to find com- 
manding still its local sale on market 
days, as the record and celebration of 
one of the legitimate points of inte- 
rest of the neighbourhood. It is said 
on the title page to have been written 
" by the late S. Foote, Esq," but 
bears about it no other evidence of 
his authorship, unless a cursory 
allusion in the body of it to the wri- 
ter's relationship to the two brothei's 
may be accepted as such. If this, 
however, be really the pamphlet 
referred to in the text, the allusions 
there made are not quite accurate, 
for it certainly does not endeavour 
to defend both brothers. It gives 
up the captain ; and, thoiagh by no 
means anxious to cloak the failings 
of Sir John, shows an undisguised 
leaning to him. Still, if it could be 
shown to be genuine, it would be 
perhaps the most amazing specimen 
on record of nonchalance in treating 
publicly of a topic that would surely 
have been gall and wormwood to 

most men whom it personally 
touched. But it is extremely diflS- 
cult to believe in the alleged author- 
ship ; or that the very hastiest and 
most negligent performance of such 
a man as Foote, upon such a sub- 
ject, could have been so utterly poor 
and impotent as the tract I have 
been describing. 

[Nevertheless I have since satis- 
fied myself of the identity of the 
tract herein described with that 
referred to in my text. Mr. .T. C. 
Knight, of the British Museum, has 
been so good as to bring under my 
notice the original edition of it, 
which decisively shows, not only 
that Foote was the writer, but that 
the publication and not the sup- 
pression of his name had been the 
condition imposed. Not merely is 
the name given, but the writer's 
precise relationship to the murderer 
and his victim is proclaimed. I 
transcribe the title page in full. 
" The genuine Memoirs of the 
" Life of Sir John Dinely Goodere, 
"Bart, who was murder'd by the 
" contrivance of his own brother, 
' ' on board the Ruby Man of War 
" in King's Road near Bristol, Jan. 
"19, 1740. Together with the 
** Life, history, tryal, and last 
* ' dying words of his brother Capt. 


the extremity of his need at the moment, that on the day 
he took his manuscript to its very proper destination at 
the Old Bailey, " he was," says Cooke, " actually ohliged 
" to wear his boots without stockings, and on his receiv- 
'' ing his ten pounds he stopped at a hosier's in Fleet- 
" street to remedy that defect;" but hardly had he issued 
from the shop, when two old Oxford associates, who had 
arrived in London on a frolic, recognised him and bore 
him off to a dinner at the Bedford ; where, as the glass 
began to circulate, the state of his wardrobe came within 
view, and he was asked what the deuce had become of his 
stockings ? " Why," said Foote, quite unembarrassed, 
" I never wear any at this time of the year, till I am going 
" to dress for the evening ; and you see," pulling his pur- 
chase out of his pocket, and silencing the laugh and the 
suspicion of his friends, " I am always provided with a 
" pair for the occasion." 

This anecdote rests on the authority of Mr. William 
Cooke, commonly called Conversation Cooke, who put 
together, half a century since, for Sir Bichard Phillips's 
book-mart, a memoir of Foote not without many points of 
merit, though discrimination is not one of them ; and who, 
with Murphy, fixes the date of the pamphlet at the period 
when its author, " immersed in all the expensive follies 
" of the times, had just outrun his first fortune." His 
second fortune is supposed to have fallen to him on his 
father's death ; but the dates and circumstances are not 
at all clear, and Mr. Cooke further confuses them by the 
statement that the worthy old magistrate, shortly before 
he died, had sanctioned his son's marriage with a young 
Worcestershire lady, and received them in Cornwall for 
the honeymoon ; when, on their arrival one dreary January 
night, a serenade was heard which no one next morning 
could account for, and, the moment being carefully noted 
by Foote, it turned out afterwards to be exactly that of 
the consummation of the frightful tragedy at Bristol. 

"Samuel Goodere, who was exe- "of Bristol. By S. Foote, of Wor- 

*' cuted at Bristol on Wednesday " cester College, Oxford, Esq, and 

" the 15th day of April 1741, for " Nephew to the late Sir John 

" the horrid Murder of the said Sir " Dinely Goodere, Bart. London. 

"John Dinely Goodere, Bart. " Printed and sold by T. Cooper in 

" Dedicated to the Right Worship- "Paternoster Row. Price Six- 

" ful Henry Combe, Esq, Mayor " pence." I860.] 


" Foote always asserted tlie fact of this occurrence/^ says 
Cooke, " with a most striking gravity of belief, tliough. he 
" could by no means account for it." It may have been 
so ; but the alleged marriage is equally difiicult to account 
for, and would seem indeed to rest on no sufficient autho- 
rity. No traces of any such settled connexion are dis- 
coverable in Foote' s career. The two sons that were born 
to him, were not born in wedlock ; and when the maturer 
part of his life arrived, and the titled and wealthy crowded 
to his table, his home had never any recognised mistress. 
Indeed he used wittily to give as his laughing excuse for 
bachelorhood, that you must count a lady's age as you do 
a hand at picquet, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, 
twenty-eight, twenty-nine, sixty ; and he had no ambition 
to awake one morning, and find himself matched so 
unequally for the whole length of a life. 

But confused as are some of the dates and details at 
the outset of his career, the main particulars may be given 
with reasonable confidence ; and the second fortune which 
undoubtedly he inherited, he had as certainly spent before 
he was twenty-four years old. The thing was then easily 
to be done by a hand or two at hazard. In 1742 and '43 
he topped the part of a fine gentleman upon town ; dress- 
ing it to such perfection in morning and evening equip- 
ment, and giving such a grace to his bag- wig and solitaire, 
his sword, muft*, and rings, that he received the frequent 
compliment of being taken for a foreigner. At the open- 
ing of 1744, however, the scene had again changed with 
him ; and if we look in at the Bedford, we shall find him 
once more among the wits and critics there, with as much 
sore necessity to live by his wits as they. And we may note 
there also, as one other accession which its circle has just 
received, a manly-looking youth of pleasant aspect, with 
the same weakness for fine clothes as Foote himself, but 
with something in his face and eyes that tells of other and 
higher aspirations. It is poor Collins,' hardly twenty- 

^ "When Mr. William Collins " his appearance was by no means 

*' came from the university, he " that of a young man who had not 

** called on his cousin Payne, gaily ** a single guinea he could call his 

*' dressed, and with a feather in "own. . To raise a present subsis- 

*' his hat ; at which his relation *' tence he set about writing his 

"expressed surprize, and told him *'Odes. . . . when, pretending he 


one, bent upon earning a subsistence by writing Odes, 
which one day he writes and the next he burns, fretting 
out the best part of his brief sad life, and wasting in pro- 
fitless vexations what might have made him one of the 
greatest of English poets. In this second clearly dis- 
cernible appearance of our hero. Doctor Barrowby re- 
appears also ; and Foote for once has the laugh turned 
somewhat against him. A remnant of his newly-wasted 
fortune is clinging to him still in the shape of a gold 
repeater, in those times something of a rarity, which he 
ostentatiously parades with the surprised remark, " Why, 
" my watch does not go ! " " It soon ^cill go," quietly 
says Doctor Barrowby. 

Since we last looked in at the Bedford, the theatres 
have taken new importance, and the critics found fresh 
employment, in a stage-success without parallel within 
living recollection. When Foote went first to that coffee- 
house, one of its habitues was a Kvely little man who 
supplied it with " red port ; '' with whom he formed an 
acquaintance ; whom he then described living in Durham- 
yard with three quarts of ^anegar in the cellar, calling 
himself a wine-merchant ; and whom he afterwards knew 
living in the same locaKty, when Durham-yard had 
become the Adelphi, and the little wine-merchant one of 
the first men in England for princely wealth and popu- 

** would alter them, he got them " the town, spending his time in all 
"from me, and threw them into " the dissipation of Ranelagh, Vaux- 
' ' the fire. He was an acceptable * ' hall, and the Playhouses ; and 
' ' companion everywhere ; and ' ' was romantic enough to suppose 
*' among the gentlemen who loved " that his superior abilities would 
"him for a genius, I may reckon "draw the attention of the great 
" the Doctors Armstrong, Barrow- " world, by means of whom he was 
"by, and Hill, Messrs. Quin, " to make his fortune, . I met him 
" Garrick, and Foote. . . He was " often, and remember he lodged 
" particularly noticed by the " in a little house with a Miss 
" geniuses who frequented the Bed- " Bundy, at the corner of King's- 
" ford and Slaughter's Cotfee- " square-court, Soho, now a ware- 
" houses." Letter of Mr. Ra^s- "house." Let me direct the reader 
dale (July 1783) reprinted in the to an edition just published (18.58) 
Monthly Magazine, vol. xxi. A of this most charming poet, ad- 
writer, now known to have been mirably edited, and with an agree- 
Gilbert White of Selborne, had able and interesting Memoir by Mr, 
written a somewhat similar ac- Moy Thomas. It is among the new 
count to the Gentleman^ s Mar/azine editions of the " Aldine Poets" at 
for 1781. " Going to London from present in course of careful repro- 
" Oxford, he commenced a man of duction by Messrs. Bell and Daldy, 


larity. The close of 1741 saw Garrick's triumpli at 
Goodman's-fields ; and the two short years since, which 
had squandered Foote's fortunes, had firmly established 
Garrick's as the chief English actor and ornament of 
Drury-lane. But what the pubHc so freely admitted, 
there were still critics and actors to dispute. There is no 
end, as Voltaire says, to the secret capacity for factions ; 
and apart altogether from professional jealousy, when the 
town has nothing .better to quarrel about, a success on the 
stage will set everybody by the ears. Yery loud and 
violent just now, therefore, were the factions at the 
Bedford : and prominent was the part taken in them by 
Foote, and by an Irish actor whom some strength of 
intellect as well as many eccentricities distinguished from 
his fellows ; already by his half- century of years (he was 
born before the battle of the Boyne) entitled to be called 
a veteran, and destined to live for more than half a 
century longer ; but never at any time so generally suc- 
cessful as his particular successes might have seemed to 
warrant, and now not unnaturally impatient of such 
complete and universal favour as little Garrick had sud- 
denly leaped into. For the truth was, that Garrick's 
re-introduction of the natural school had already been 
attempted by this Irish actor, Charles MackKn : who, 
undaunted by Mr. Eich's dismissal of him from the 
Lincoln's-inn theatre twenty -years back, as far too fami- 
liar, and wanting the grand hoity-toity vein, had never- 
theless steadily persisted, and at last, eight months before 
Garrick appeared, had got the town with him in Shylock ; 
but there, unhappily, had been stopped by his hard voice 
and his harsh face, the tones in the one like the strokes 
of a hammer, the lines in the other like cordage. But, 
for the time at least, heartily as he afterwards laughed at 
him, Foote's sympathy went without stint to the dis- 
appointed veteran ; and, together, they formed a strong 
third party among the critics, standing between the foes 
and friends of Garrick : maintaining that his familiarity 
was right, but was not familiar enough, and that he 
wanted the due amount of spirit and courage to take 
tragedy completely off the stilts. Of this view Foote 
became a startHng and powerful exponent. It suited his 
sharp, shrewd style ; it drew forth his easy, sarcastic 

F00te.'\ GOES UPON THE STAGE. ' 351 

humour ; and, differing from Garrick only in degree, it 
did not preclude Hs expression of what he honestly felt, 
when it better pleased his own originality to admit that 
of the great little actor. And his criticism, wdiich took 
more of the wide range of the world than of the limited 
one of books, showed one thing undoubtedly, that, reck- 
less as this young spendthrift's career had been, his quick 
natural talents had protected him against its most de- 
grading influences. His practice of vice had not obscured 
his discernment of it, nor his experience of folly made 
his sense of it less keen ; and thus early he was a man of 
influence in the society of the day, before he had written 
his first farce, or even set foot upon the stage. Such 
critical perception as that of his Treatise on the Passions, 
and his Essays on Comedy* and Tragedy, could not but 
make him formidable. 

Meanwhile graver matters became importunate with 
him, from which the only immediate relief seemed to He 
in the direction at present most famiHar to him. He had 
to replace the means his extravagance had wasted, and 
the tendency of his habits and tastes pointed to the stage. 
From telling shrewdly w^hat should be done, to showing 
as naturally how to do it, the transition seems easy when 
the necessity is great ; and Foote resolved to make the 
trial. He consulted with his friends, prominent among 
whom at this time were the well-known Delavals ; Francis, 
afterwards the baronet, and his brother, Lord Delaval ; to 
the former of whom, a few years later, he dedicated his first 
published piece, to commemorate the " generous disinter- 
^' ested friendship " of both brothers at the particular 
crisis of his fortune which " enHsted him in the service of 
" the pubKc." They happened to be great lovers of the 
stage, and the help and co-operation of both confirmed 
his resolution. The time also peculiarly favoured it : for 
now occurred the dispute between the leading Drury-lane 
actors and Fleetwood, which ended in the violent rupture 
of Garrick and Macklin ; when, on the former unexpect- 

^ His Roman and English, Hoadly's Suspicious Husband, 

Comedy Compared, published in. which he welcomed as the best 

1747, is still worth reading ; and comedy since the Provoked Hus- 

among other things contained a hand, produced exactly twenty 

spirited and generous notice of years before. 

352 * oPExs IN OTHELLO. \_Samtiel 

edly returning to his allegiance, the latter drew ojff with 
the best company he could get together at the moment, 
went to the little " wooden theatre " in the Haymarket, 
and threw defiance at the patentees. The licensing-act 
prevented his taking money at the doors, but the pubKc 
were "admitted by tickets delivered by Mr. MackHn;'* 
and, by advertising and beginning with a concert, he evaded 
its other provisions. Foote joined the secession, and 
selected Othello for his opening part. 

It was the part that Farquhar tried, and failed in ; it 
was his friend Arthur Murphy's part, when he failed ; it 
was his friend Delaval's, on the occasion of a grand 
private play at Lord Mexborough's, Delaval's brother-in- 
law, which was afterwards repeated at Drury-lane; it 
was his imitator Tate Wilkinson's part, it was Barry's, it 
was Mossop's ; and, whether a man was to fail or to suc- 
ceed, to plant himself on the heights of tragedy, to 
occupy the lesser ground of comedy, or to fall through 
altogether, Othello seemed still the first object of ap- 
proach : though less perhaps as a main outwork of the 
citadel, than as ofiering, in the coloured face, a means of 
personal disguise often welcome to a debutant. Yet with 
all this it appears surprising that Foote, with his keen 
common sense and strong feeling for the ridiculous, should 
have chosen it. But some degree of gravity and enthu- 
siasm is inseparable from youth, and as the part, more- 
over, was one that Garrick was held to have failed in, it 
was a bow remaining still to bend. " Here is Pompey," 
cried a wit from among Garrick's audience, when the little 
face-blackened man entered, in a regimental suit of King 
George the Second's body-guard, with a flowing Ramilies 
wig, " but where is the tea-tray ? " Foote shares Tsith 
old Quin in the fame of this celebrated joke, which was 
probably not without its effect in checking Garrick's re- 
appearance in a part, the mere colour and costume of 
which must have made such an object of him. The 
matter of dress was a point, indeed, whereon Macklin 
and Foote had taken special counsel. Ever since Mr. 
Pope had nodded approval of his Shylock's red hat, and 
said, " it was very laudable," Macklin had been a great 
stickler for costume ; and the Haymarket bill, announcing 
for the 6th February 1744 *'a concert, after which 


" Othello, Othello by a gentleman, being liis first appear- 
" ance on any stage," was not less careful to announce 
that ''the character of Othello \\dll be new dressed 
" after the custom of his country." 

But the flowing eastern robe could not hide the actor's 
defects. Foote failed in Othello, there can be no doubt. 
" Not but one could discover the scholar about the young 
'' fellow," said Macklin, " and that he perfectly knew 

" what the author meant; but" Nevertheless, on a 

reference to the bills, we find that he repeated it three 
times ; on the 13th, 20th, and 23rd of the same month ; 
and that, on the 10th of the following month, he again 
acted it for a benefit at Drury-lane, being there announced 
as " the gentleman who lately perfonned it in the Hay- 
" market." He took the same course exactly with the 
next part he played, that of Lord Foppington ; in wliich 
he is said to have been more successful, ha^dng had hints 
from Gibber himself on which he whimsically improved- 
Nor can it be doubted that in Comedy he so far at once 
made his ground safe, that the public had always a 
certain welcome for him in parts, which, though leading 
ones, he seems to have chosen as not absolutely possessed 
by more successful competitors ; and to which therefore, 
with occasional sallies into such extraneous matter as 
Shylock, he will be found upon the whole shrewdly to 
restrict himself. In the ^\inter of 1744-45 he went over 
to Dublin, and played with some success at the Smock- 
alley theatre, then just opened by Thomas Sheridan, the 
son of Swift's friend ; and in the mnter of 1745-46 he 
was installed as one of the regular company at Drury- 
lane. His venture so far had succeeded, and the course 
of his future life was marked out. 

No account has been kept of his performances in 
Dublin ; for, though he is said to have drawn crowded 
houses, his wit was more remembered than his acting, and 
two of the jokes he made may therefore here be recorded 
instead of the parts he played- Being reproached, on 
praising the hospitality of Ireland, as but a half-qualified 
witness, not having visited the capital of the south, he in- 
sisted that he might claim to have as good as seen Cork, 
he had seen so many drawings of it ; and, being asked 
what impression was conveyed to him by the condition of 


the Irish peasantry, he declared that it had settled a ques- 
tion which before had been a constant plague to him, and 
he now knew what the English beggars did with their 
cast-ofF clothes. The comedies he appeared in at Drury- 
lane, the winter after his return, are in some degree evi- 
dence not only of the character of his acceptance with the 
public, but of what he felt, himself, in regard to his 
powers. He played, four times. Sir Harry Wildair in 
Farquhar's Constant Couple, with Peg Woffington, her- 
self the once famous Sir Harry, for his Lady Lurewell. 
He repeated Lord Foppington, in Yanbrugh's Relapse, 
several times ; with Mrs. Woffington as Berinthia, and 
Mrs. Clive as Miss Hoyden. He revived Addison's 
comedy of the Drummer, which had not been presented 
for some years, that he might himself perform Tinsel. 
He played Sir Novelty Fashion, in Gibber's Love's Last 
Shift. He played Sir Courtly Nice, in Crown e's comedy 
of that name. He played the Younger Loveless, in 
Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady, on the occasion 
of Mrs. "Woffington selecting it for her benefit. He re- 
peated, five or six times, the part of Dick in Yanbrugh's 
Confederacy. And finally, he appeared in the Duke of 
Buckingham's Rehearsal; and gave, to the general sur- 
prise and delight of many audiences, and the particular 
consternation of some individuals among them, his version 
of the celebrated Bayes. 

In this selected list, one cannot but recognise some- 
thing of the personal wit and humorous peculiarity of the 
man. As the town would not have him in characters 
that would have carried him out of himself, he darted at 
once into the other extreme of playing characters closely 
resembling himself, and took his audiences into confidence 
with his personal weaknesses and failings. What he now 
played, he was or had been. He was the graceless son, 
the adventurer with the handsome leg ; he was the fiimsy 
fop and dandy, who had made a god of his tailor and 
scorned essential for non-essential things ; he was the 
very embodiment of the heedless light-hearted coxcomb, 
the type of youthful spirits and recklessness let loose upon 
the WQrld. But what a man is, he does not always look ; 
and in such plays as these, it was Foote's disadvantage 
that his appearance told against him. In person he was 


short, mth a tendency to stoutness ; liis face even in 
youth was round, fleshy, and flat, and his nose had breadth, 
without strength or deHcacy : though he had a pleasing 
expression of mouth, more refined than in a man of his 
temperament might perhaps have been looked for ; and 
he had an eye in whose sparkling depths lay a spring of 
humour unfailing and perpetual, which would have raised 
from insignificance or repulsiveness features fifty times as 
coarse or inelegant. In that dramatic gallery of the 
Garrick Club which may hereafter, to Horace Walpole's 
traveller from New York, or to Mr. Macaulay's from New 
Zealand, be as the Nineveh of a delightful art which is 
even now lost and past away, there hangs a reasonably 
good copy of the portrait by Reynolds' in possession of the 
Duke of Newcastle, where all this is visible yet ; for though 
years of indulgence have done their work, and you look 
on the hardened clumsy features, the settled look, the 
painful stoop and infirmity of his later life, you see through 
them still what as a young man Foote must have been — a 
shrewd, keen, observant, mirthful, thoroughly intellectual 
man, but not exactly a Sir Harry Wildair, Dick Amlet, 
or my Lord Foppington. And so the matter seems to 
have struck himself, notwithstanding the amount of favour 
he received in such parts ; for the expression is attributed 
to him, " If they won't have me in tragedy, and I am 
" not fit for comedy, what the deuce am 1 fit for ? " A 
question which it was possible to answer more satisfac- 
torily, when he had once played the character of Bayes. 
It is not unlikely that this performance shaped entirely 
his subsequent career. 

Garrick first introduced imitations into Bayes. The 
tradition of the part had connected it with Dryden, even 
to the great old poet's full suit of black velvet ; but Garrick 
took off the black velvet, put on a shabby old-fashioned 
black coat, and presented a mere quizzical, conceited, 
solemn ass of a poet, going about reciting his own verses. 
Gibber condemned the innovation ; and Lord Chesterfield 
said that Bayes had lost dignity by it, and, no longer the 

^ During the hrief glories of the among the admirable specimens 

Manchester Art Festival the original which had there been collected of 

•was exhibited, and showed its title the great English painter. 
to a deservedly high place even 


burlesque of a great poet, was become no better than a 
garretteer : but, besides that the character is really no 
higher than this, the hearty enjoyment of his audiences 
justified Garrick ; and when, in the delivery of the verses, 
he gave a succession of comical pictures of the actors most 
familiar to them, they laughed and cheered him to the 
echo. Garrick's idea, Foote now seized, and worked out 
after his own fashion. What was mirthful exaggeration 
in Garrick, in him became bitter sarcasm ; the license 
Garrick had confined to the theatre, Foote carried -with 
keener aim beyond it ; the bad actors on the mimic stage, 
he kept in countenance by worse actors on the real one ; 
he laughed alike at the grave public transactions, and at 
the flying absurdities of the day ; at the debates in par- 
liament, the failures of the rebels, the follies of the 
quidnuncs, at politicians, play writers, players ; and as, 
flash upon flash, the merriment arose, Foote must at last 
have felt where in all respects his real strength lay, and 
that there was a vacant place in theatres he might of 
right take possession of, a ground to be occupied without 
rival or competitor. Davies says, no doubt truly, that 
what he improvised and added to Bayes was as good as 
the original, indeed not distinguishable from it but by 
greater novelty of allusion. Why not strike out, then, 
another Bayes more strictly suited to himself; equip 
himself with character and wit, provided solely from his 
own brain; and, with the high claim and double strength 
of author as well as actor, carry the town by storm ? 

The last night of his performance at Drury-lane was at 
the close of April 1746; the interval he employed in 
drawing out his scheme, and in getting together a small 
baud of actors devoted to him who would help him in its 
accomplishment ; and in the General Advertiser of the 
22nd of April 1747, appeared the following advertise- 
ment : 

" At the Theatre in the Haymarket this day will be performed a 
Concert of Mufic, with which will be gwitn gratis a new entertain- 
ment called the Dinjerfions of the Morning, to which will be added a 
farce taken from the Old Batchelor called the Credulous Hufband, 
Fondlewife by Mr. Foote j with an Epilogue to be fpoken by the 
B— d— d Coffee Houfe. To begin at 7." 

The little theatre was crowded ; but the Diversions, as 



then given, was never printed, and its character can only 
be inferred from such casual recollections as have survived, 
and from the general effect produced. It was such an 
entertainment as till then had not been attempted. 
Perhaps the closest resemblance to it was Sir William 
Davenant's, of nearly a century earlier ; when he evaded 
the general closure of the theatres, and baffled the stem 
watch of the puritans, by his entertainment at Rutland- 
house " after the manner of the ancients." After the 
manner of the ancients, too, were Foote's diversions ; yet 
such as no Englishman had attempted before him. In 
introducing himself upon the scene, it is true, he did only 
what Ben Jonson had done ; in laughing at brother au- 
thors and rivals, he had the example of both Decker and 
rare Ben ; in satirising politicians and statesmen, he but 
followed Fielding and Gray; in "taking off" the pecu- 
liarities of actors, Eastcourt and Garrick were before him ; 
— but no man, since the old Athenian, had dared to put 
living people upon the stage, not simply in their imper- 
sonal foibles or vices, but with the very trick of voice that 
identified them, and with the dress in which they walked 
the streets. In the epilogue of the Bedford coffee-house, 
the wits and critics of that celebrated place of resort were 
shown in ludicrous dispute ; a notorious physician, less 
remarkable for professional eminence than for the oddity 
of his appearance and the meddlesome singularity of his 
projects, was good-humouredly laughed at ; a quack ocu- 
list, of wide repute and indisputably bad character, was 
more bitterly ridiculed; and the first performance had 
not ceased, when Foote received the name which always 
afterwards clung to him, however in some respects 
strangely misapplied, of the English Aristophanes. 

That a second performance should if possible be pre- 
vented, would also seem to have been determined on before 
the first was over. The actors at once took up arms 
against their merciless assailant, and applied the licensing- 
act against him.' Even if there could be a doubt as to 
his own spoken dialogue, the portion of Congreve's Old 
Bachelor which he had acted (and where, by the way, 

1 The vimlence of the feeling lines which the Drury-lane promp- 
aroused may be estimated by some ter, Chetwood, thinks worth pre- 


Davies, who never admits him any actor's merit out of his 
own pieces, says that in Fondlewife he merited and gained 
much applause from the vividness of his reproduction 
of the acting of Colley Cibher) brought him clearly within 
its provisions. On the second night, accordingly, some 
time before the hour of admission, a strong posse of eon- 
stables from Bow-street were seen stationed at the doors ; 
who duly drove away the audience as they approached, 
and "left the laughing Aristophanes," as Mr. Cooke 
observes, " to consider of new ways and means for his 
" support." 

The consideration did not occupy him long. The first 
night was the 22nd of April ; on the 23rd the constables 
put the law in force ; and the General Advertiser of Fri- 
day the 24th of April, 1747, contained an advertisement 
to this efiect : 

" On Saturday noon, exaftly at 12 o'clock, at the new Theatre in 
the Haymarket, Mr. Foote begs the favour of his friends to come 
and drink a difh of Chocolate with him ; and 'tis hoped there will 
be a great deal of Comedy and feme joyous fpiri's; he will endea- 
vour to make the Morning as Diverting as poflihle. Tickets for 
this entertainment to be had at George's Coffee- Houfe, Temple- 
Bar, without which no perfon will be admitted. N.B. Sir Dilbury 
Diddle nvill be there y and Lady Betty Frifk has ahfolutely promifedy 

Against a spirit that thus laughed defiance at his ad- 
versaries, turned injuries to commodities, and rose more 
mirthful and buoyant from what to any other had been 
hopeless depression and defeat, the clauses of acts of 
parliament and the stafi's of constables were uplifted in 
vain. The magistrates of London never issued another 
warrant against Foote. 

But, would he really give chocolate, as he promised ? 

serving, in that curious little volume Thou mimic saws sense ! mock hero 

about the Stage which he published in gesture ! 

so early as 1749. Can the squeak of a puppet present 

us a Quin ? 
" Thou mimic of Gibber — of Garrick Or a pigmy, or dwarf, shew a giant's 

thou ape ! design ? &c. 

Thou Fop in Othello ! thou Cypher in Can a Foot represent us the length of 

shape ! &c. a yard 1 

Thou mummer inaction ! thou coffee- Where, then, shall such insolence 

house jester ! meet its reward ? " 

&c. &c. &c 

Fooie,^ MR. foote's mormxg chocolate. 359 

A great many seem to have gone to the theatre expecting 
it ; and Sir Dilbury Diddle and Lady Betty Frisk (or in 
other words, according to a paper of the day, " many 
*' among the nobihty and lovers of the Drama in high life, 
" who dreaded and were attracted by the personality of 
" his satire ") were particularly early in their attendance. 
All was intense expectation in the small densely-crowded 
theatre, when Foote came forward, and with a respectful 
bow acquainted them '^that as he was training some 
" young performers for the stage, he would, with their 
" permission, w^hilst chocolate was getting ready, proceed 
" with his instructions before them." That was his entire 
secret. The constables had not dispersed even his little 
company of actors. There they were still, crouching con-